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Tonal is making a splash in the fitness industry. It is, quite simply, one of the most innovative pieces of home workout equipment we’ve seen in years. While most home gyms take up a significant amount of space, the Tonal is a wall-mounted smart gym that features auto-adjusting weights with real-time form feedback. With Tonal, you get a fun, effective workout from the comfort of your home. The built-in technology enables multiple users to share the same Tonal and it’ll record your weights from session to session, so you can track your progress over time. In this Tonal review, we’ll focus on the features, pros and cons of the equipment, pricing and the type of user who is best suited for this home gym.
Right now Tonal is running a special 90-day home trial, so you can test it out at home and see if it’s right for you. Tonal will deliver the machine and set it up for you—they’ll even take it back if you don’t love it after 90 days with no question asked.
What is Tonal?
Tonal is a wall-mounted, smart home workout machine that offers a full-body workout without the hassle of dumbbells, barbells or other bulky equipment. It features two adjustable arms that can be used for a variety of exercises: pushing, pulling, squats, deadlifts—anything you need. Tonal uses electromagnetic resistance to provide up to 100 pounds of resistance per arm (200 pounds total).
At the center of the machine is a touchscreen that you can use to browse a variety of classes. The machine also provides feedback to ensure you’re using the correct form. Classes are led by a team of Tonal trainers, so you can choose the instructor you like the most and access their classes on-demand. You get a full-body gym and virtual trainer, all in one sleek package.
How Tonal Works
Tonal’s main features are its touch screen and access to thousands of workouts led by trainers. It also has auto-adjusting resistance as well as recommended weights for each program. If an exercise is too easy, Tonal automatically adds resistance so you’re being challenged appropriately.
After your workout, Tonal generates a “strength score.” This is helpful for tracking your progress over time and ensuring you’re getting stronger and reaching your goals. When you begin a new workout, your saved profile automatically sets the correct weight based on your last session. This way, you don’t need to keep an old-school log or try to guess at the right weight to use.
With the smart handles, barbell and bench, you can train any muscle and perform nearly any exercise you’d regularly do at the gym. Its wall-mounted design saves space and its adjustable arms are great for training any muscle in your body.
The Benefits of Tonal
The best part of Tonal is its incredible versatility. Most home workout equipment requires access to dumbbells, bands, adjustable benches, yoga mats and more to train every muscle in your body. Tonal is the complete package.
You only need a few attachments, minimal space and a sturdy wall to mount your device and get in a great full-body workout. Plus, with thousands of workouts to choose from, you’ll never again feel bored or unsure of what to do.
If you’re new to lifting, Tonal features a wide variety of classes you can choose from. You’ll enjoy classes led by trainers who demonstrate the proper form; Tonal even monitors your form and offers suggestions if you’re performing a movement incorrectly. It’s not quite as detailed as getting feedback in-person feedback from a trainer, but it does a nice job of making sure you’re using a full range of motion.
The Cons of Tonal
The sticker shock is the top drawback. At $2,995 for the base package, this isn’t a cheap piece of equipment. Most users and reviewers say that you really need the "Smart Accessories" package to perform all the exercises, which gives you handles, a bar, adjustable bench, foam roller and workout mat.
Realistically, to get the most out of Tonal, you’ll likely spend nearly $3,500.
Many users also report that Tonal is challenging to mount. Professional installation is included with your purchase, but if you want to relocate your Tonal for any reason, it can be quite difficult.
Delivery timelines are also worth noting. The window ranges, but you should plan on 6-8 weeks, at minimum. This is fine if you’re not in a rush. But if you’re looking to get started quickly, paying such a high fee then waiting at least two months may feel frustrating.
Who Tonal is Best for
Tonal is best suited for beginner to intermediate lifters who want to get a great full-body workout at home. It’s versatile and comes with a wide variety of classes. The form feedback also helps ensure you’re performing the movements correctly.
If you’ve ever wanted to get in a quick workout at home, but you find yourself bored or you’re not sure what workout to do, Tonal will do all the thinking for you. All you have to do is show up and get ready for a great workout.
If you have the space, a sturdy wall and the budget, this is a good way to save space and still enjoy a fantastic, tech-powered workout.
Who Tonal is Not Best For
The Tonal isn’t a great fit for anyone who’s a serious lifter or who really enjoys live feedback and interaction.
Classes are pre-recorded, so there’s no way to ask questions or get real-time feedback from a trainer. Because the resistance only goes up to 100 pounds per arm, advanced lifters may find themselves quickly outperforming the machine.
If you’re used to lifting weights in a gym and you know that you can lift over 200 pounds (or more than 100 pounds per arm), you’re likely too strong to fully benefit from Tonal.
Factors to Consider Before Purchasing Tonal
Tonal’s base model is $2,995, but you’ll have to pay an extra $495 for all the accessories, which users say are necessary to get the most out of the home gym.
You’ll also need an active Tonal membership, which costs $49 per month. However, you can share the membership with others in your household. Without the membership, though, most of the features—like the classes, dynamic weight adjustments, form feedback and workout reporting—are inaccessible.
Unlike most equipment that can be installed wherever you have floor space, Tonal is a wall-mounted device and requires a sturdy wall with plenty of space.
According to Tonal’s website, 7 feet and 10 inches of ceiling height are required to fully extend the arms. Tonal also needs to be within 5 feet of a three-pronged, grounded outlet. To ensure the equipment is safely anchored to the wall, Tonal should also be mounted to studs.
You can talk to the support team ahead of time (and even send photos of your space) to determine whether Tonal can be safely installed in your home.
As mentioned in the pricing section, getting the most out of your Tonal requires a $49 monthly membership. You’ll still be able to use the machine itself without paying the fee, but most users say the machine isn’t worth it if you opt against paying the monthly charge.
Most of the advertised features, like classes, form correction, auto-adjusting weights and dozens of other features are only included with the monthly subscription.
For an optimal experience, Tonal recommends 7 feet x 7 feet floor space, 7 feet unobstructed wall space and a ceiling height of at least 7 feet and10 inches.
If you have this much space, this is the perfect equipment for you. However, if you’re in a smaller space, this may take up too much room. When you set up your Tonal, it must be mounted to a wall, so moving it can be quite difficult.
Tonal has a sleek, modern, space-saving design. Adjusting the arms and weights is very smooth and its touch screen adds to an engaging experience. Once you have it installed, the Tonal is a gorgeous piece of equipment that’s fun and easy to use.
Modes and features
When you purchase your Tonal with the Smart Accessories kit—and keep your monthly subscription—you’ll be able to enjoy all of Tonal’s cutting-edge features, including:
● Automatic weight adjustments
● Smart handles that enable you to change your resistance with the push of a button
● Virtual group workouts
● A built-in workout spotter to help you squeeze out extra reps
● Movement substitutions and replacements (if you don’t feel comfortable with a certain exercise)
● Form feedback to ensure you’re using a proper range of motion
Tonal users say there are dozens of additional features that enhance their workouts, too.
Currently, Tonal does not include live classes but it does come with thousands of pre-recorded classes from their team of instructors.
Some users say they don’t enjoy the classes as much as other home workout classes, as some of the instructors can come across as “corny” or self-centered. Like any other home workout class offering, we expect Tonal’s catalog to continuously expand and improve over time, both in terms of workouts and the personalities who lead them.
Take time to look at a few preview videos of workout classes. That can help you decide if Tonal would be a good fit.
Warranty and return policy
Tonal comes with a 30-day risk-free home trial. It’s covered under warranty for three years and includes professional installation.
How Tonal Stacks Up Against Other Products
While there are similar smart home workout options on the market like Peloton or Mirror, Tonal is one of a kind due to its adjustable arms for resistance training.
The only way to replicate the features of Tonal would be through purchasing free weights, a cable machine, bench and barbell. That said, the costs add up quickly and require a significant amount of space.
Tonal is also unique in the fact that it offers adjustable resistance with each arm. You’ll no longer have to change dumbbells or add weight to your barbell since the weights adjust automatically. While it does require adequate floor space and a sturdy wall, Tonal still takes up less space than most alternatives.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a cheaper alternative?
No. The closest competitor is Mirror, another wall-mounted smart fitness device. But Mirror utilizes only your bodyweight, whereas Tonal has built-in weights.
You could assemble a home gym for a cheaper price, but you won’t have all the smart features, thousands of classes or real-time feedback.
Is Tonal better than working out at the gym?
For beginner and intermediate strength trainees, Tonal is a fantastic way to train from the comfort of your home. You’ll be able to recreate nearly any exercise you’d do at the gym.
However, if you currently train in a gym and regularly lift more than 200 pounds, you’ll likely be a bit too strong to rely on the Tonal for your training needs.
How many people can use a single Tonal?
When you subscribe to the Tonal membership for $49/month, you’ll be able to create unlimited accounts for friends and family to use.
Can I use my own handles/barbell/accessories?
Tonal smart equipment is designed to seamlessly integrate with the base Tonal model. However, if you wish to use your own equipment, you can purchase special adapters from Tonal to install your own handles.
Prices are accurate and items in stock at time of publishing.