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Is Tonal Taking the Throne for Home Fitness?

After Peloton reported a tremendous quarterly loss of $757 million this past May, it may be a sign that its demise is only a matter of time. The luxury exercise bikes aren’t doing so well now that pandemic restrictions are easing up, allowing more people to go to the gyms in order to lose their pandemic weight. On the other hand, Tonal–the smart cable home fitness machine–reported $250 million in funding in March 2021. In October, Lebron James invested in the start-up and premiered a new commercial featuring the NBA superstar.

For those unaware, Tonal is an at-home fitness machine that focuses on strength training. Professional Tonal installers mount the fairly minimalist equipment on your wall, which is similar in size to a standard rectangular mirror. One of the biggest takeaways is that Tonal uses electromagnetic force instead of weights, allowing more consistent force on flexion and extension. Along with its compact size and functionality, Tonal comes with classes, training regimens, and fitness trackers that adjust the weight according to past performances. Think of a new generation Bowflex.

There is also another product gaining steam in the home fitness market: Lululemon’s Mirror. It is around the same size as Tonal but Mirror focuses more on cardio than strength training exercises. The base package is cheaper than both Tonal and Peloton, but they offer different packages with added equipment per tier.

Pricing is one thing to note when you’re choosing between options. The base model Peloton costs around $1,500 with their installation and first month’s membership included. Mirror’s cheapest package is around the same price but commands a year-long membership commitment at $39 per month (and lacks all of the equipment used in promotional material). Tonal is by far the most expensive option. The base package is nearly $3000 with shipping, installation, and their year-long membership ($49 per month) included; the smart handles, which are absolutely necessary in order to work out, have to come with an accessory package for an additional $295.

As an esteemed Money Maker reader, the price might not be an issue for you. In that case, it mostly depends on what kind of exercises you prefer. If you prefer cardio workouts, Mirror and Peloton would be your best bet. They both offer live classes with trainers who respond and guide you throughout the session.

As of now, Tonal only provides recordings of classes that do not give off that sense of community that its fitness contemporaries offer. Tonal is the undisputed champion among the three when it comes to strength training, however.

If readers aren’t feeling particularly jazzed about these options, don’t worry. The home fitness industry might have dwindled when pandemic restrictions were lifted, but privacy is always a privilege. Expect more home fitness products to be popping up left and right.


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