Tonal Review (2024 Updated) At-Home Smart Gym System

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Published by Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer
Last updated: December 23, 2023
We personally test every product featured in our reviews and guides. By ordering products anonymously and getting a group of independent testers, we are able to get first-hand experience and provide data-driven recommendations. Learn more.

As a certified personal trainer, I believe that the days of boring routines and pricey gym memberships are gone. Tonal combines top-of-the-line technology with streamlined physical training to help you build strength, increase endurance, and achieve your desired results.

After putting Tonal through its paces, we are excited to share our findings with you. We spent weeks testing Tonal’s adjustable pulley system, interactive touchscreen, and personalized workouts.

Even with its convenience, guidance, and tailored exercises, Tonal may not be the perfect fit for everyone; we’ll delve into its weaknesses and weigh its pros and cons so you can make an informed decision.

What Is Tonal?

A woman using Tonal at home

Tonal is an innovative machine (like Peloton, Mirror, and similar devices) that allows you to experience personal training in the comfort of your home.

Most other bulky weight lifting and home workout equipment pieces like a workout mat clutter up your space.

This smart, sleek, space-saving strength training machine looks like a vertical flat-screen TV (with smart handles and arms that can be hidden) when attached to your wall.

It seems like having a virtual personal trainer and a weight room’s worth of equipment in one compact machine that looks great on your bedroom or living room wall.

No more need for free weights like barbells, dumbbells, or racks.

Now you can have personalized high-intensity weight lifting and strength training sessions in the comfort of your home, doing hundreds of exercises to work your entire body.

Here’s what Tonal team members say about the smart home gym for their strength training:

“All of the weight resistance is being created through our electromagnetics motor that is controlled by software. We can change the weight dynamically, coupling it to the video feed and unlocking all these new experiences.”

- Nate Bosshard, Tonal CMO

The Tonal system is designed by a fitness tech company founded by an experienced engineer Aly Orady, and is meant to be used by adults over 18 for strength training and other fitness goals.

Our #1 Recommendation

Tonal CTA

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

4.0
Durability
4.2
Weight
4.1
Price
youtube
Pros
  • 200 lbs of adaptive resistance, challenging even seasoned lifters
  • 7' x 7' space-efficient design, ideal for compact home gyms​
  • Interactive 24-inch touchscreen, guiding workouts with expert precision​
Cons
  • High initial cost of $3,500, stretching your budget
  • 200 lbs max resistance may limit elite athletes' progress

How Does Tonal Work?

tonal device work out

Tonal works through digital weight, offering up to 200 pounds of magnetic force resistance (100 pounds per arm), which might be limiting for advanced weight lifters but is sufficient for most people.

Unlike traditional weight gravitational force, electromagnetic force resistance Tonal smart home gym uses are constant and smooth. Plus, the personal trainer automatically adjusts to your fitness abilities and strength.

That’s why you need to perform a strength assessment before you start strength training with Tonal itself, according to an article found on the Knowledge Tonal website [1].

It includes fitness equipment like a deadlift, a shoulder press, a bench press, and a seated lat pulldown. According to the study found on the National Center for Biotechnology Information website, exercise diversity is crucial for better fitness and overall health [2].

Tonal continually tracks your workout progress and reps in real time, including the data like sets, reps, volume, load, time under tension, and range of motion.

It ensures your workouts are always challenging enough and helps you understand your fitness abilities and set future goals to find that intrinsic motivation.

Now that you know the basics of how to use Tonal let’s say a bit more about its available workouts.

What Are the Benefits of Tonal?

The benefits of Tonal are cost-effectiveness, edvanced features, reduced distractions, and 24/7 access.

If you're serious about lifting, strength training, or working out, Tonal may provide you with everything you need to keep your body goals on track.

1. Save money over time

Tonal is a good investment in health and fitness because it provides everything you need for a smart home gym while saving you money on a monthly basis.

A commercial gym membership can be expensive, and you might even have to pay a monthly fee for guided workouts with instructors.

2. Access to your home gym 24 hours a day for a total body workout

If you have a spare bedroom or area in your home, consider professional installation for your Tonal so that you can simply step in and begin your workout. You have entire household access at any time of day.

From my personal experience with the Tonal home gym system, I've seamlessly integrated a diverse range of workouts into my routine, including strength, cardio, and yoga.

3. Experience cutting-edge home gym equipment without interruptions

Working out in a commercial gym may require waiting for some pieces of equipment to become available for use by someone else. It applies even for the smallest things, such as a workout mat.

However, it can be frustrating when you arrive at the gym and are ready to begin, only to find that someone is curling on the cable machine. You may be forced to rethink your entire workout routine, which is always inconvenient.

With Tonal, you can experience cutting-edge smart accessories without interruptions.

4. You are always in charge of making your own rules

When working out in a commercial gym, you have no control over what is going on around you. Sometimes the sounds you hear around irritate you.

There are gyms that do not play music in the background, so you will hear people running, breathing, and frequently conversing. Furthermore, some people play the music that you do not like. At home by using Tonal, you can play whatever music you want.

5. Take advantage of one of the best smart home gym

Tonal's adjustable arms provide a total-body exercise program with over 170 different movements and up to 200 pounds of magnetic resistance. This smart home gym delivers real-time data, allowing you to determine whether you're making progress or not.

I enjoy that Tonal Home Gym also pairs with the Apple Watch, which tracks my workout performance automatically.

6. You can choose an instructor that fits your workout style

If you're not the best at working out efficiently, having instructors lead you through your workouts can really be beneficial.

Tonal instructors may also provide you with pointers on how to enhance your technique while you're working out. The clever artificial intelligence identifies your deficiencies and provides you with recommendations on how to improve your performance.

7. You don't get too many distractions

The nicest thing about exercising in your own place is that you avoid distractions. When you're at the gym with your friends and begin conversing in between sets, you may be unaware that you're disrupting the entire workout.

When you train in your own comfortable space, you may arrange it in such a manner that you are entirely focused on your workout.

What Are Tonal Workouts Like?

tonal workout experience

Tonal offers different exercises for an effective and fun home workout (new being added regularly). These include partner or group sessions, Yoga, Pilates, kickboxing, HIIT, and even dancing cardio guided by encouraging expert coaches in dynamic, pre-recorded step-by-step videos.

“Future concepts include live 1:1 training as well as a more social feel, through boot camp-style group workouts. We are constantly generating new content and loading it onto the device.” - Natalie Carey, Tonal Coach

Tonal doesn’t currently offer live training sessions (unlike popular Peloton, for instance). Still, it offers a wide variety of on-demand workout programs on different fitness levels created by professionals, as well as free lifts and hundreds of movements targeting all body areas.

Using its responsive screen, you can browse and select workouts by category, level, goal, duration, and coach.

Advanced enthusiasts may enjoy the additional lifting modes - Chains and Eccentric.

How Is Tonal Installed?

tonal products

Tonal is installed by a professional, and the process takes less than an hour.

You pay (more on the pricing details below), and the company sends its trained technicians to install and set up the machine for you.

But, before the delivery, when you confirm your order, you need to fill in and submit a survey to confirm the placement of your machine.

For a smooth Tonal installation experience, BEFORE you purchase this strength training machine, make sure you’ve met all their professional installation requirements, such as:

  • Proper wall surface material and thickness
  • Adequate surrounding space(7x7ft), floor and ceiling height (7ft10in)
  • Plumbing and electrical location
  • WiFi signal strength, etc.
Woman working out

(You can see all the details on the company’s website following the link above or in this Tonal Guide.)

When the professionals install your Tonal, they connect it to your WiFi and set it up to adjust it to your strength score requirements. It’s a straightforward four-step process that includes:

  1. Sign-up, i.e. creating your Tonal account
  2. Entering your data -  age, height, weight
  3. Personalizing your fitness goals
  4. Selecting your current fitness level

Then, the machine can recommend custom workouts based on your specific fitness goals and needs.

How Much Does Tonal Cost?

Plenty of Coins

Tonal costs around $3,000 if you pay for it in full. You can buy it on the official website or from an authorized US retailer.

Honestly, Tonal is a huge investment because you’re paying for all the elements separately - the device/hardware, smart accessories, monthly subscription, delivery, and professional installation, plus taxes depending on your place of living.

I would advise against buying a used machine from random people online. It could be tempting, sure, but you're unlikely to receive the same level of support and exercise experience from a brand-new Tonal.

How Does Tonal Compare to Other Smart Home Gyms?

Here are three other alternatives you might want to consider:

BodyBoss Home Gym 2.0

The BodyBoss 2.0 Home Gym is a versatile strength training system that relies on resistance bands instead of traditional weights.

Tonal is a wall-mounted digital weight system, while BodyBoss is a portable home gym designed to be portable and can be used anywhere but lacks technological features.

Lewin Fitness Platform

Lewin Fitness Platform is a multi-functional fitness platform that offers a variety of workout options but is less advanced in terms of technology than Tonal.

Tonal offers up to 200 lbs of magnetic resistance, while Lewin uses resistance bands

NordicTrack Commercial Studio Cycle

NordicTrack presents a stationary exercise bike with advanced technological features, including built-in screens and interactive training options.

While both Tonal and NordicTrack offer technology-driven workouts, they serve different purposes.

Tonal focuses on magnetic resistance for weightlifting, whereas NordicTrack offers 22 levels of digital resistance designed for cycling enthusiasts.

Customer Reviews

tonal banner

In our search for tonal reviews online, we came across two that were both intriguing and noteworthy.

"Tonal's automatic weight increase takes the guesswork out of picking weight as you progress.  While some of the starting weights were a little light for me, they were simple to adjust during the workout. The workouts are straightforward and not too time-consuming.”

-Boogerbasket, Reddit

“Working on Tonal is more similar to playing against pressure and resistance than working with weight stacks. Furthermore, some of the content and instructor recommendations become repetitive after a while.”

-Jim, Youtube

FAQs

Does Tonal Have a Monthly Fee?

Yes, Tonal has a monthly fee. It provides access to expert coaching and all its innovative features such as personalized weight suggestions, unlimited household accounts, on-demand workouts, progress tracking and logging, heart rate monitoring, music stations, and more.

Can I Install Tonal Myself?

No, you can’t install Tonal yourself because proper Tonal installation includes more than just mounting the machine onto the wall. The DIY approach isn’t recommended because professionals need to connect your Tonal to WiFi, pair your Bluetooth Smart accessories, and set up your Tonal account so that you can make full use of the machine.

Can Tonal Be Installed in a Garage?

No, Tonal cannot be installed in a garage or basement. I mean, it can theoretically, but it’s meant for a safer environment inside your home. It becomes more urgent when it has a smart accessories bundle like the smart bar. Unlike other bulky home gym equipment, this sleek, compact workout machine looks beautiful in your living room or elsewhere inside your home.

Where Can I Try Tonal?

You can try Tonal in retail showrooms throughout the USA. Another option is to book a live video demo with a Tonal expert, who will provide a one-on-one virtual tour to teach you the basics and answer your questions about the machine.

Does Tonal Have a Camera?

Yes, Tonal has a camera. The manufacturer claims this smart home gym won’t jeopardize your privacy as it’s turned off by default and will only be switched on for personal live training sessions.

Does Tonal Have Yoga?

Yes, Tonal has yoga (but not for complete beginners) designed to help you advance other Tonal programs for strength training and increase flexibility and enhance muscle recovery. Before you commit, consider taking a strength assessment to determine where you stand.

How Loud Is Tonal?

Tonal is as loud as a dishwasher, so it shouldn't be too bothersome.

How Much Weight Does Tonal Go Up To?

Tonal goes up to 200 pounds of digital weight that uses a magnetic force.

How User-Friendly Is the Tonal Interface?

Tonal's user interface is designed for ease of use, featuring a touchscreen for easy navigation and account setup. Users can effortlessly switch between different workout programs, customize their routines, and receive real-time feedback and guidance during exercises.

How Does Working Out with Tonal Compare to Traditional Gym Workouts?

Tonal provides a gym-like experience with the convenience of home use, offering a wide range of exercises and weight training without the need for bulky equipment. It's particularly beneficial for those who prefer privacy, convenience, and personalized workout plans that traditional gyms may not offer.

Our Verdict on Tonal

Tonal may be worth the money if you’re an intermediate athlete with a restricted home gym space who wants to build muscle and doesn’t mind the hefty price tag.

But as you’ve seen from this in-depth Tonal review, this machine won’t fit everyone’s wallet, wall, fitness level, or goals.

If you need a portable smart home gym that is versatile and effective in a full-body workout for a 10+ times lower price, I would wholeheartedly suggest another solution: BodyBoss 2.0.

Aside from being affordable and practical, BodyBoss 2.0. supports safe exercise with light rubber-based resistance bands for good form, making this smart gym suitable for physical rehabilitation and strength assessment.

We Recommend This Instead

BodyBoss 2.0

BodyBoss 2.0 CTA

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

4.2
Durability
4.2
Price
4.8
Weight
Pros
  • Fully portable gym for upper and lower body workouts
  • Includes a video workout program for beginners
  • Allows over 300 workouts
  • Compact and inexpensive
Cons
  • A bit pricey
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About The Author

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer
Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Holistic Nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health and is the owner of Taylor Made Fitness. Her philosophy centers on cutting through the hype and misinformation surrounding dietary supplements, focusing instead on practical, science-backed strategies for health and weight loss.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Christiana Mikesch, CPT
Senior Coach
Christiana Mikesch, CPT is a personal trainer and author with contributions to publications like the Chicago Tribune and Yahoo. She emphasizes a holistic approach to weight loss, combining an energy-fueling diet, goal-oriented workouts, and daily habits. Her approach avoids short-term goals and fosters a lifelong commitment to health and well-being.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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One thought on “Tonal Review:
Does This At-Home Smart Gym System Really Work?

  1. The Tonal’s ability to provide real-time feedback on form is a game-changer for at-home workouts. I appreciate the personalized approach for my fitness goals.

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