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Smart gym systems are taking the home workout scene by storm. And with the rise of the post-2020 virtual lifestyle, they have only gained ground. As a result, several new smart gym brands have recently launched to massive success.

However, not every piece of tech deserves a rec. Luckily for you, we did the work to find out which ones are really worth the 💰.

Step into the *fit*ure with us — here are our picks for the 12 best smart home gym systems of 2021.

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Edit by Dana Davenport

Here are the criteria we used to make our picks:

  • Variety. We aimed to include a variety of machines, and we looked for machines that pulled double duty. Strength and cardio? You got it. Yoga and kickboxing? Yes indeed!
  • Smarts. Any ol’ treadmill comes with Bluetooth speakers these days, but what else makes it “smart”? We chose smart fitness equipment that solved problems using the power of technology… even some problems we didn’t know we had. Mostly, we looked for equipment that was made for streaming, made it easy to track your progress, and had at least some level of fitness app connectivity.
  • Practicality. With a few exceptions (because of their amazing tech), we leaned toward machines that maintain most of their functionality even if you stop paying for the membership or subscription fee. Because if it stops working when you stop paying… is it really that smart? 🤔

Best rower: Impact Series Rower by Aviron

  • Price: $$
  • Workout types offered: rowing
  • Membership: not required for basic rower functions; $29/mo or $299/year
  • Notable features: 22-inch (in.) touch screen, variety of games and unique workouts
  • Max user weight: 397 pounds (lbs.)
  • Dimensions: 97 x 21 x 43 in.

With the tagline “Bring your A game,” the Aviron Rower has distilled gamified workouts into a science.

A full-body rowing workout on the Aviron gets your heart pumping and your muscles working, all while you’re running from zombies, trying to outrace Olympians, racing your friends, or reliving your favorite Gateway PC games from the ’90s. (Anyone else remember the cow??)

The included touch screen also allows you to access YouTube, which is really nice if you just wanna zone out while you work out.

Reviewers are IN LOVE, but some say the rower disconnects from their Wi-Fi easily and wish that the touch screen were totally unlocked so they could access other streaming services.

Best bike: Stryde Bike

  • Price: $$
  • Workout types offered: cycling
  • Membership: not required; $29.99 for access to Stryde app and cycling classes
  • Notable features: totally unlocked tablet, membership not required
  • Max user weight: 350 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 24 x 48-in. footprint (exact dimensions not disclosed)

OK, the people at Stryde totally get us. Not only is their bike one of the least expensive smart bikes on the market, but it also comes with a totally unlocked 22-in. tablet. That means YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and more are all right there at your fingertips.

And that… makes us want to give them the $29.99 a month for their totally optional app (which features tons of unique cycling content from some of the best studios across the United States).

While most reviews are positive, some cyclers say it’s actually pretty difficult to add new apps to the tablet. There are also several complaints of the seat sliding down during rides, and in general people aren’t too pleased with the logistics company in charge of delivering Stryde Bikes.

Best for cardio and strength: MYX II Plus

  • Price: $$$
  • Workout types offered: cycling, cross-training, walking, running, strength training (through MYX x Openfit)
  • Membership: required; $29/mo
  • Notable features: dumbbells, heart rate monitor, workout mat, foam roller, kettlebell, and resistance band included
  • Max user weight: 350 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 54 x 21 x 47 in.

The MYX II is the newest iteration of the MYX indoor cycling bike, which has amassed a huge following as a sleek alternative to a Peloton bike.

MYX workouts are optimized based on your heart rate, which is why a heart rate monitor is included with each purchase. And now MYX has partnered with Openfit to provide access to tons of streaming fitness classes (not just cycling) through their new app.

With the included equipment, you’ll be all set to lift, cycle, and ommmm.

Because the MYX II is newer, there aren’t a ton of reviews yet. However, one complaint about the old MYX was that there were no live classes — which are now offered through the MYX x Openfit app.

Best compact setup: Vitruvian

  • Price: $$
  • Workout types offered: weightlifting
  • Membership: not required (but unlocks classes, custom workouts, and tracking); $39/mo
  • Notable features: variable resistance of up to 400 lbs.
  • Max user weight: 330 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 46 x 21 x 5 in.

The Vitruvian is a marvel of technology and a must-have for anyone who both loves weightlifting and aspires to be Tony Stark.

It’s a simple black platform disguising some serious power — with the accompanying handles, it can provide resistance of up to 200 lbs. per arm. The app also gets to know you and how you work out and will auto-adjust the weight you’re feeling so you get max pump from every single rep.

Reviewers rave that, despite its power, it’s small and discreet enough to slide under the couch when not in use.

Best for boxing: Fight Camp

  • Price: $
  • Workout types offered: boxing, kickboxing
  • Membership: not required (but unlocks workouts and tracking — without the membership, it’s a very expensive conventional punching bag); $39/mo
  • Notable features: robust tracking features
  • Max user weight: N/A
  • Dimensions: 24 x 24-in. footprint

Fight Camp looks like a simple free-standing punching bag at first glance, but it packs a serious, erm, punch. The bag tracks every hit it takes, keeping you motivated along the way with fighter-led workouts that incorporate high intensity interval training to really up the ante.

And apparently the first rule of Fight Camp is “always talk about Fight Camp,” because there are legions of adoring fans and rave reviews. But unfortunately, the app is available only for iOS. *cries in Samsung*

Best treadmill: ProForm Pro 2000 Treadmill

  • Price: $
  • Workout types offered: running, walking (plus full library of iFit workouts)
  • Membership: not required for manual use; iFit $180/year for individuals
  • Notable features: -3% decline to 12% incline
  • Max user weight: 300 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 35 x 77 x 60 in.

Perfect for beginner runners and seasoned racers alike, this ’mill from ProForm offers expanded speed and incline options — 0 to 12 miles per hour and -3% to 12% incline. It also comes equipped with a 10-in. touch screen and iFit compatibility.

If you have an active iFit membership, your treadmill settings will auto-adjust as you move through your workouts, and the program will use your stats and progress to make recommendations for future workouts

This treadmill also has great reviews and offers comparable features to much more expensive models.

Best elliptical: NordicTrack FS14i

  • Price: $$$
  • Workout types offered: elliptical (plus full iFit workout library)
  • Membership: not required for manual mode; iFit $180/year for individuals
  • Notable features: auto-adjusting stride
  • Max user weight: 375 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 59 x 30 x 74 in.

This is another smart gym system that’s part of the iFit ecosystem. And while pricey, this elliptical is a must if you want to keep your elliptical workouts fresh.

The auto-adjusting stride allows you to use it in three different ways — as an elliptical, a stair-climber, or a treadmill — by simply changing the length of your stride.

However, while the product is really solid, some reviewers express serious frustration about shipping and dealing with customer service.

Best smart mirror: Tonal

  • Price: $$$
  • Workout types offered: strength, weightlifting
  • Membership: required; $49/mo
  • Notable features: instant form feedback from 3-D sensors, up to 200 lbs. of completely digital weight
  • Max user weight: N/A
  • Dimensions: 22 x 51 in.

The Tonal is arguably the coolest and most sophisticated tech on this list, and here’s why: It combines a fitness mirror (v. cool) with 3-D sensors that provide immediate form feedback and correction AND digital weight that auto-adjusts even as each rep progresses so that you get maximum benefits. Mind. Blown.

Tonal lovers recommend springing for the Smart Accessories bundle — it’s an extra $495 that, honestly, should just be included with every Tonal purchase by default because of the additional functionality the bundle provides.

Best for yoga: MIRROR

  • Price: $
  • Workout types offered: yoga, dance, strength, boxing, barre, etc.
  • Membership: required; $39/mo
  • Notable features: app with leaderboard, one-on-one personal training, and workouts made especially for use with fitness mirrors
  • Max user weight: N/A
  • Dimensions: 53 x 21 x 2 in.

The MIRROR is a gorg fitness mirror disguised as a home decor installation — although compared to mirrors like the Tonal, it’s pretty low tech (with no instant form feedback).

It does provide a variety of boutique-style fitness classes, including lots and lots of yoga. Just follow along with the instructors on screen, mirror their form, and get your stretch on.

The MIRROR has tons of adoring fans, but the only major downside is that it’s not a touch screen — you control it entirely through the app on your phone.

Best for strength training: Tempo Studio Plus

  • Price: $$
  • Workout types offered: strength, yoga, boxing, cardio, HIIT, etc.
  • Membership: required for use of screen; $39/mo
  • Notable features: 3-D sensors for automatic form correction, home gym-in-one
  • Max user weight: N/A
  • Dimensions: 38 x 26 x 72 in. (mirror and stand only)

Here’s an analogy for you: The Tonal is to e-books as the Tempo Studio is to physical books. The one you choose is strictly a matter of preference.

If you like to keep things tactile with real weights, then the Tempo Studio is the high tech home gym experience you want. It’s got the fitness mirror and 3-D sensors built in to offer immediate feedback on your form, but it comes standard with good ol’ iron — dumbbells, a kettlebell, and weight plates.

The Tempo Studio has a huge following, and the great thing is that you can outfit your whole gym in Tempo equipment if you want. BUT be mindful that you’ll need more space with the Tempo than with other, more compact options.

Latest and greatest: Peloton Tread Basics

  • Price: $$
  • Workout types offered: walking, running (plus full library of Peloton workouts — cycling, yoga, strength, etc.)
  • Membership: not required (but nonmembers only have access to manual Just Run mode); $39/mo
  • Notable features: 24-in. adjustable touch screen
  • Max user weight: 300 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 68 x 33 x 62 in.

The Tread is back as part of the Peloton family that — let’s be real — pretty much started the whole smart gym movement. It has a roomy running deck, along with speed and incline options topping out at 12.5 miles per hour and 12.5%, respectively. With the Peloton app, you can follow along with engaging trainer-led workouts and interact with other Peloton devotees.

One drawback is that, unlike the less expensive iFit-compatible treadmills, the Peloton Tread doesn’t automatically adjust your speed or incline along with your Peloton workouts.

Most fun: Liteboxer Starter Package

  • Price: $$
  • Workout types offered: boxing
  • Membership: required; $29.99/mo
  • Notable features: extensive tracking of force, accuracy, and endurance
  • Max user weight: 325 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 55 x 38-in. footprint

If you’ve ever wanted to punch someone’s lights out (hey, we’ve all been there), here’s an option that won’t get you a lawsuit. It’s a gamified smart punching bag, and you literally get to punch its lights out. With Liteboxer, you can take trainer-led classes, do some freestyle tappy-taps, or punch to the music. Yes, it’s like DDR for your hands.

Liteboxer buyers overall are really pleased with the machine, although there are plenty of requests for new music to be added to the lineup of songs.

If you’re still on the fence about going all-in on a smart gym system, here are some high level pros and cons of owning one.

The great thing about smart gym systems is that pretty much anyone can find one that’s juuuuuust right.

Hate working out? The Aviron and Liteboxer offer gamified workouts that are fun and engaging, with some major ’90s/early ’00s throwback vibes. Need to keep it low impact? Go with a smart rower, elliptical, or bike. Total beginner? A fitness mirror can help you learn proper form and technique by simply following along with the trainer on your screen.

And if you’re a seasoned athlete looking to level up your fitness, you’ll still find plenty of value in smart equipment.

Beefed-up treadmills like the Peloton Tread can help keep treadmill running from getting stale, and strength training equipment like the Tonal or Vitruvian provides up to 400 lbs. of weight with absolutely ZERO weight plates. That’s minimalist bliss, right there.

Thinking about dropping some serious cash on a smart gym system? Here’s what you need to consider before you hand over your CC deets.

What you enjoy

No matter how you slice it, this equipment is $$$… so make sure it’s something you’ll enjoy for years to come.

If you hate running, maybe don’t get a treadmill. And if you ~just wanna dance~ make sure any smart gym system you let into your life offers dance classes through its membership.

If you want to do a little of everything, you’ll definitely want to lean toward something like the MIRROR (which offers cardio, yoga, strength, and more) or the MYX II, which comes with weight training equipment and WAY more than just cycling classes.

Extra fees

By nature of their design, most smart machines require memberships in order to access their exclusive fitness content, so keep this in mind when you’re budgeting.

Most memberships are $30 to $50 per month but may be less expensive if you pay annually. If you want to forego the membership altogether, go with the Stryde Bike, which comes with a totally unlocked tablet.

Space

Depending on which equipment you buy, you’re gonna have to make like a billionaire and claim some space. If you have very limited space, you may want to consider a foldable treadmill or a fitness mirror. If you’ve got plenty of room, you could spring for something like the Tempo Studio.

Connectivity options

Most systems sync best with their own apps (naturally), but if you happen to be an Apple, Garmin, Samsung, or Fitbit superfan, you’ll want to find something that will also sync with your preferred wearable.

If your equipment is gonna be in a shared space, then the ability to use Bluetooth earbuds is a definite must too.

Your existing equipment

Finally, you’ll want to consider the equipment you already have — especially if it’s smart or if you’re already paying for any memberships.

Got a Peloton Bike? The natural best next purchase is the Peloton Tread. If you already have some NordicTrack in your home gym, stick with NordicTrack or ProForm — both brands are designed for iFit compatibility.

Here’s what most smart gym system virgins want to know.

What makes a piece of fitness equipment “smart”?

There’s no official definition of “smart” when it comes to fitness equipment, but generally smart gym equipment features a screen to offer streaming classes, Bluetooth connectivity for headphones and heart rate tracking, advanced performance tracking or monitoring options, and an exclusive membership offering live and on-demand fitness classes.

Which is more important, strength training or cardio?

Don’t make us play favorites! Cardio gets your heart pumping, which offers tons of heart health benefits. But strength training helps you build muscle and boost your metabolic rate.

There’s def room in your life for both if you choose, especially since most of these smart gym pieces provide options for both cardio and strength training anyway.

What basic equipment should I have on hand for my smart gym workouts?

If your new smart gym system doesn’t come with weights, it may be a good idea to have some basic dumbbells, a kettlebell, some resistance bands, and a workout mat ready.

You can buy these much cheaper individually than the ones that may come with your smart gym system for an extra fee (although if you’re going for a certain look, you may watch to spring for the matching weights and accessories).

What if I don’t want to pay for any memberships?

If you’re trying to avoid a required membership, you’ll need to either buy a lower-tech piece of equipment (which would be cheaper) or stick with something like the Stryde Bike or the Aviron Rower — both of which allow you to use other programs or apps.

(Note: Aviron allows only YouTube, while the Stryde Bike comes with a totally unlocked tablet.)

What do I need to have in my home before purchasing a smart gym system?

You’ll definitely need a good Wi-Fi connection and plenty of space to set up your equipment with an electrical outlet nearby. If you buy a complete system like the Tempo, make sure you have LOTS of space available in case you decide to add extra accessories such as their folding squat rack and weight bench.

Smart fitness equipment is the future of working out (esp in these home-centric pandemic days), and we are SO here for it.

If you’re looking to add a touch of tech to your home gym, be sure to choose equipment that’s fun for you, conducive to your space, at least minimally functional without a subscription fee, and compatible with your existing wearable devices and other equipment.

Ayo, technology!