In this article:
There’s no denying that the pandemic started a boom of at-home workouts. This created a new market for the fitness industry to target, and smart home gyms started to pop up everywhere. A smart home gym can include anything from a smart treadmill, a smart fitness mirror or a unit meant to replace multiple pieces of equipment. The Peloton Bike and Lululemon Studio Mirror (formerly known as just the Mirror) were some of the first brands to kick off this craze. Now it seems like there is a smart home gym for just about everyone’s interests. For example, there’s Tonal which specializes in strength training, while others like NordicTrack want to simulate the real life feel of outdoor exercise.
Working out at home has plenty of perks. Smart fitness equipment can offer some of the same options as gyms and fitness studios, which is why some people are forgoing their gym memberships. The best part is smart home gyms can be used by everyone — no matter if you’re a beginner or experienced exerciser. Another plus is most memberships let you create profiles for other family members so they can get in on the fun as well. Plus, having a smart gym in your home can not only make it easier for you to reach your fitness goals, but also take the guesswork out of what workout you should be doing.
One thing that may deter some people from purchasing one is the price. Smart home gyms are expensive, so it’s important to do your research before investing in one. To help you find one that fits your needs and budget, we’ve done the testing and research to find our top smart home gym picks that encompass a broad range of fitness categories.
Giselle Castro-Sloboda/ CNET
The Tempo Studio is a smart home gym that resembles an armoire and is meant to blend in with your home. It’s an ideal smart home gym to own whether you’re new or experienced with strength training. The Tempo Studio’s basic package comes well-equipped with two dumbbell bars, weight collars and five sets of weight plates from 1.25 to 25 pounds. You have the option to upgrade your package to the Tempo Studio Plus or Tempo Studio Pro, which include additional weights and accessories like a bench and a barbell. The Tempo Studio is designed to hold all of its equipment neatly so you won’t need to worry about it being spread across your living room floor. The top part of the studio consists of the touchscreen, while the bottom part has a cabinet that stows the weight plates out of sight. The back of the Tempo Studio has slot-like compartments that hold the barbell and dumbbell bars securely and safely in place.
I recommend making sure you have room for the Tempo Studio before purchasing because the stand itself is large and you need an additional 6 feet of space in front of the screen so your body can be detected during a workout. The Tempo membership is $39 a month with a 12-month commitment and lets you create up to six profiles, so everyone in your home can use it. Tempo also has an app that you can download (available for iOS and Android) and use while you’re traveling.
There are various live and on demand classes you can choose from, including HIIT, bodyweight strength, bodyweight cardio, weightlifting, yoga, boxing, stretching and meditation. Additionally, you can customize your workout experience by creating a program based on how many days a week you want to work out and for how long, and you can split them up by body part and rest days. If you want to exercise without personalization, you can still filter the collection of workouts by activity, modifications needed (for example: lower-back friendly, pregnancy safe), the coach, equipment and more.
You can pair an Apple Watch with the Tempo Studio, but your order also comes with a heart rate monitor as an option. Third-party apps like Strava and Apple Health can also connect to the Tempo Studio. You can pick between music playlists built into the Tempo Studio or connect your phone via Bluetooth to play your own music. Another plus is you can individually control the music and instructor volume based on your preferences.
What makes the Tempo Studio stand out as ideal for strength training is that it uses artificial intelligence with 3D sensors to provide feedback on your form and movement during class. It can also count your reps and detect the dumbbell weights you’re using. While using the Tempo Studio I was impressed by the feedback it gave me while doing a leg workout. Although it can be challenging to stay within the 6-feet parameters of the screen, the device can detect your movement and tell you if your form needs improvement or if it’s on par. It can also read the weights you’re using and provides recommendations based on whether you should go heavier or lighter next time. It functions like a personal trainer and is helpful if you’re new to strength training or want reinforcement on your form with certain exercises.
If you would like an even more personalized experience, you can opt in for 1:1 personal training, which starts at $30 a month in addition to your monthly membership. Although more competitive athletes like Crossfitters or Powerlifters may feel limited with Tempo, the average fitness enthusiast will love having their own strength training studio right in their very home.
- Live and on-demand classes.
- 3D sensors help correct your form and challenge you.
- Neatly stores all your weights and accessories.
- Strength training equipment feels high-end.
- Requires a lot of room.
- Membership is an additional cost.
- May not be challenging enough for more experienced lifters.
Giselle Castro-Sloboda/ CNET
The NordicTrack Commercial 2450 is our pick for best smart treadmill. This treadmill is large, but its size makes it versatile for tall and short individuals. The good news is it does fold up so you can prop up the belt when it’s not in use. It has a 22-inch HD touchscreen that tilts and pivots so you can adjust it for different uses, like if you want to take a workout class on the floor.
Like all NordicTrack equipment, you will need an iFit membership that costs $39 a month for a family plan or $15 a month for an individual plan. You’ll have access to live and on-demand classes (also available in the iFit app), so you can enjoy a variety of workouts on and off the treadmill. The treadmill uses Wi-Fi and Bluetooth so you can connect headphones, a smartwatch or a heart rate monitor.
This treadmill has the ability to incline from zero to 15% and decline up to -3%. Both runners and walkers can enjoy this treadmill since the speed goes from zero to 12 miles per hour. If you like interval training, the NordicTrack Commercial 2450 also has quick-touch control buttons on the console, which makes it easier to adjust your speed.
One of iFit’s stand-out features is that you can create your own trail using Google Maps to exercise anywhere in the world. Also impressive is NordicTrack’s AutoAdjust technology, which allows an iFit virtual instructor to adjust your incline and speed during class. You could be running or walking in the jungle and you’ll notice the treadmill adjust to replicate that terrain. The same applies when you run on your own and choose your own location on Google Maps. This hands-free option lets you focus on the class without having to fuss with any buttons. It’s also a good way for runners who need to train for a race to get the outdoor feel indoors.
If you’re looking for a technologically advanced treadmill that is suitable for all heights, sizes and exercise styles, then you’ll love the Nordictrack Commercial 2450.
- All heights can comfortably use this treadmill.
- Sleek look with a giant touchscreen.
- AutoAdjust technology simulates exercising outdoors.
- iFit membership offers a variety of classes.
- Requires a lot of space.
The Tonal is a popular strength training smart home gym that’s been advertised everywhere, with endorsements by athletes like Lebron James and Serena Williams. While the Tempo Studio is excellent for people beginning to strength train, the Tonal is our pick for those who are well-versed and want to take things up a notch.
When we tested this smart home gym, we loved its sleek look and were impressed by the hardware. It resembles a cable machine combined with a touchscreen TV and is intended to replace your dumbbells, barbells and weight plates while saving space in your home. It has 13 different sensors to track your form and technique, while the smart handles and bar accessories (an optional additional $495) have a gyroscope motion sensor that keeps track of your reps. Tonal uses up to 200 pounds of total resistance and calibrates your weights for different exercises based on your initial fitness assessment. Before you start a workout, Tonal can also tell which muscle groups are fatigued the day of your workout and makes sure to work around it. For example, if Tonal knows you worked out your legs yesterday, it may suggest an upper body workout today so your legs can properly recover.
Tonal offers thousands of on-demand and live workouts for beginners to advanced athletes. It even has five dynamic weight modes that make your workout harder: Spotter, Burnout, Chains, Eccentric and Smart Flex. These modes challenge your workouts the way a personal trainer would in person, either by acting as a spotter, increasing your weight, focusing on high reps or changing up the focus from the eccentric to concentric part of the move and even making you lift till failure. If you don’t want to take a class, you can use the Tonal on its own and customize your own workout while still receiving the same feedback you would in class. You can also connect your Amazon Music or Apple Music account and listen to your own music during your workout. Although it is the most expensive smart home gym on this list, it’s worth owning one if you’re experienced with strength training and want that extra challenge in the comfort of your home without needing to go to the gym.
- It’is a space-saving, wall-installed machine.
- It’s quiet, which works well if don’t want to disrupt the neighbors.
- It functions like a personal trainer.
- You aren’t limited to just using it for the classes, and you can do your own customized workout.
- Your walls have to meet the requirements to install Tonal.
- The price is high for a machine that doesn’t include the cost of its own custom accessories or required professional installation.
Giselle Castro-Sloboda/ CNET
Last year Peloton unveiled the first smart rowing machine that teaches you how to row and corrects your form. Although the price tag is steep ($3,195), the Peloton Row stands by its promise that it will make you a better rower. This machine is large, so you will need to make sure that you have room for it in your home. But the good thing about this is that it’s appropriate for people of all heights and has a weight capacity of 300 pounds. The Peloton Row 24-inch HD Touchscreen easily rotates for those times you want to work out on the floor while using your All-Access Peloton membership (an additional $44 a month).
The Peloton Row provides a unique rowing experience that you won’t get with other rowing machines. This rowing machine has sensors that detect the position of the handle and seat. The sensors help when calibrating your rowing form, which is important when taking a class since it ties in to the Form Assist feature. Form Assist provides real-time feedback on your form using the sensors from the calibration process. During class an image of a digital person on a rowing machine shows up on the screen and moves in sync with you. If your form is off, Form Assist alerts you by highlighting a specific body part in red where the stroke needs correction. You’ll be able to see your form rating score at the end of class, which tells you how well you rowed as well as where you made errors and tips on how to correct it. When I tried the Peloton Row, it made me more aware of my rowing form and improved it thanks to Form Assist.
If it’s in your budget and you’re serious about rowing, you can’t go wrong with purchasing a Peloton Row.
- Form Assist teaches you how to row and improves form.
- Easy to operate if you’re familiar with Peloton programs.
- Large and may not fit all spaces.
The Peloton Bike took the pandemic by storm and soon many people found the smart exercise bike in their living rooms. CNET’s Russell Holly tested various exercise bikes and named the Peloton Bike the most popular bike for a reason. The sleek signature look of the Peloton Bike is appealing because it looks like a sophisticated piece of equipment in the middle of your living room. It offers plenty of live and on-demand classes with its All-Access membership and lets you create up to 20 user profiles.
The Peloton requires clip-on shoes, which normally cost extra, unless you upgrade to a more expensive package. The Peloton community is also what keeps its name relevant as its members are supportive on and off the bike. Holly says, “Even if you’re not in one of the live classes, which run frequently through the Peloton app, your performance is shown in real time alongside others who’ve taken the class.” While in a live class you may get an encouraging high five from another member through the leaderboard, and offline you can connect with your favorite instructors via social media.
The Peloton Bike is ideal for those who want a classic smart exercise bike that provides an immersive group fitness experience.
- All-Access membership lets you create profiles for your whole family.
- Trusted smart bike with large following.
- Blends into most rooms in your home.
- Costs extra to purchase appropriate cycling shoes.
- Programming can get repetitive.
Ellipticals may seem like a standard piece of exercise equipment, but it all depends on the features and look. The NordicTrack Commercial 14.9 offers a 14-inch touchscreen as well as auto-adjust capabilities, adjustable stride length and oversized cushion pedals. It’s a large machine, so you’ll not only need enough space in your home to hold it but also enough space overhead as well. This elliptical combines a heavy flywheel with magnetic resistance to give you a challenging workout. Despite its heavy duty qualities, it provides a quiet and smooth ride.
Just like the NordicTrack Commercial 2450 treadmill, this NordicTrack elliptical functions best with an iFIT membership. It also has Bluetooth connectivity so you can pair your smartwatch or heart rate monitor. The NordicTrack Commercial 14.9 auto-adjust feature control allows the instructor to adjust your incline during a simulated workout. Similar to the NordicTrackCommercial 2450, you’re able to virtually train from just about anywhere in the world thanks to Google Maps, which creates a more immersive experience.
You also have the option to use the machine manually on those days where you prefer not to take a class. If you’re looking for a smart elliptical that can give you an experience like no other, then the NordicTrack Commercial 14.9 is a solid pick.
- Advanced design.
- Smooth stride.
- Has an iFit program option for immersive workouts.
- It’s big, so it may not fit all spaces.
- The iFit membership comes at additional cost.
Giselle Castro-Sloboda/ CNET
The Lululemon Studio Mirror is ideal for those who enjoy the hybrid approach to fitness. The smart fitness mirror gives you access to popular boutique fitness classes that you can enjoy inside your home as well as in the studio. Because it’s a smart mirror, it is easy to set up and blends into any room in your home. You have the option of mounting it or leaning it against the wall. If you choose the latter, it’s still recommended to anchor it to your wall for extra security. The Lululemon Studio Mirror is not a touchscreen and is instead controlled by its app which is easy to set up on your iOS or Android smartphone.
The Lululemon Studio Mirror’s classes are powered through the included Lululemon Studio membership. For $39 a month your membership will give you access to thousands of popular fitness studios including Rumble, Dogpound, Aarmy, Y7 Studio, AKT, Pure Barre, Yoga Six and Forward_Space. Along with your membership you’ll be able to attend discounted classes at the studio locations and receive 10% off Lululemon products as well as discounts when you attend in-person Lululemon Studio partner classes. There are plenty of beginner, intermediate and advanced classes including boxing, strength training, pre and post natal and pilates classes to fit your fitness level. Lululemon Studio also includes Time Saver class options which are shorter classes lasting from 5 to 15 minutes. New classes drop every week so your workout collection stays fresh.
Other fun features include a two-way audio and video camera which is helpful during live classes if you’re looking for form feedback from the instructor or if you opt to take personal training classes (for an additional fee). You can also connect with the Lululemon Studio Mirror community during live classes via a community stream and get friends who own one to get in on some friendly competition. If you want to listen to your ownmusic, you can connect your Apple Music account or choose music built into the Lululemon Studio app.
The Lululemon Studio Mirror is a great home gym pick if you love the camaraderie of group fitness training and want a diverse set of class options.
- Blends into any room.
- Installation is easy.
- The app is easy to use.
- Perks at participating partner fitness studios and discounts at Lululemon.
- No touchscreen.
- Lululemon Studio membership is a separate cost.
- Personal training costs extra.
- Only connects to one third-party music app.
How we test smart home gym equipment
Each smart home gym is tested differently based on its category since no two are alike. We narrowed down the best smart home gyms based on each of their respective categories — such as treadmill, elliptical or smart mirror — which have been tested by various CNET editors over the years.
Factors to consider when choosing a smart home gym
Budget: Smart home gyms tend to be expensive and can easily cost at minimum $1,000. Therefore it’s an investment you want to make sure is going to be worth it for your home and exercise preferences. Consider how much you’re willing to spend and what’s included in that price.
Space: Many smart home gyms are relatively large pieces of equipment. Before purchasing one, make sure you have enough room to set it up and move around it. For example, if you’re purchasing a machine such as a treadmill, it’s ideal to look for one that folds for easier storage. Whereas if you are purchasing a smart fitness mirror you’ll want to make sure that wherever you mount it there’s still room to exercise in front of it.
Versatility: Smart home gyms usually offer more than one function. If you’re buying a smart home gym, make sure it also offers a variety of classes so you can build a well-rounded workout. If you want personal training, make sure the smart home gym offers it as an option.
Membership options: Since smart home gyms typically replace a gym membership, you’ll want to make sure that the membership provided will allow multiple user profiles so your whole family can use it.
Which smart fitness mirror is best for a home gym?
This depends on what you’re looking for in a smart fitness mirror. Most offer a variety of classes that are updated regularly, but have a different purpose. Some focus on perfecting the artificial intelligence aspect of it to give you form feedback, while others prefer to concentrate on personal training or high quality group fitness classes. The smart fitness mirror you choose will also depend on your preference, budget and space availability.
What are the benefits of a smart home gym?
Owning a smart home gym can make it easier for you to stay active since you have a full gym at home. You can also share the experience with other family members looking to get fit.
How do you clean a smart home gym?
Your smart home gym or smart fitness mirror will come with instructions on how to maintain and care for it. Some only recommend using microfiber or cleaning cloths to keep it clean and dust-free. Never use cleaning products that have not been approved by the manufacturer.
More fitness recommendations for 2023
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.