COVID-19 may have you considering working out at home instead of going to the gym. With the global pandemic, the home fitness equipment market is growing rapidly. Many people are opting for smart fitness devices and other fitness techs.
Since high school, I have been involved in the fitness industry. I was a daycare worker at my local gym to earn a free membership. As a yoga instructor and resident fitness expert at PCMag, I have the opportunity to try out the latest home gym equipment. They are far more advanced than the ones I used in high school.
What makes fitness equipment smart? And why should you pay more for it? Smart home gym equipment can connect to the internet at the most basic level. Many machines come with a screen that allows you to stream your workouts. However, some machines can also be connected to the internet via an app.
A gym equipment for sale offers a higher level of interaction than their less-expensive, unconnected counterparts. Many offer large libraries with knowledgeable instructors, customized workouts, and programs that are tailored to your needs and goals. It’s almost like having your personal trainer at home.
You can also find live classes on many machines that offer competitive leaderboards. This gives you extra motivation to run, row or cycle your way to victory. You’ll feel connected to your peers and it will help you feel that you are not the only one doing this. Peloton members are so connected that they often become close friends in real life because of their shared passion for the sport. Smart fitness devices generally track your progress and will congratulate you when you reach your goals.
Some devices, such as the iFit-powered NordicTrack and the Peloton Bike+ can adjust your resistance and speed automatically so that you don’t need to mess with buttons or knobs during your workout. Many support wireless headphones for streaming classes and heart rate monitors to allow you to glance at your screen to see how hard and fast you are working out.
These features all work together to alleviate boredom and keep people coming back for more day after day. A smart fitness machine can be a great investment if you are looking for motivation to get on your way to a healthier lifestyle.
There are many options available on the market today. We’ve collected our top picks for smart treadmills and stationary bikes, rowers, smart mirrors, and strength training machines to help make your decision. Continue reading to find more information and tips that will help you narrow down your choices.
What Should You Spend on Smart Fitness Equipment
Smart fitness machines can be expensive, as you can see by our top picks. Our top picks are all under $1,500. The NordicTrack Commercial 2950 treadmill is a high-end model that can cost up to $3,000 and comes in at a premium.
A machine that has a screen will cost you more than one that does not. A larger screen will cost you more than one with a smaller screen. A 22-inch screen or larger is a good choice if you are interested in scenic outdoor content such as the Commercial 2950 hikes. However, it can also increase the cost.
NordicTrack is a company that caters to all budgets and offers machines in a variety of sizes. Echelon, Bowflex, and other manufacturers sell screen-less models that can be used with your tablet or phone.
Don’t forget to add the membership fee when budgeting for a smart exercise machine. To access live streaming and on-demand classes, they all require a subscription. These are typically between $29 and $39 per month. NordicTrack offers more value by offering a year of iFit for free (a $468 value). However, you will need to pay to continue using the interactive fitness platform once your trial ends.
You also have to factor in the price of accessories, like the special cycling shoes you need with a Peloton Bike, as well as delivery and assembly/installation fees, which can run up to around $250. These devices can be heavy and complicated to assemble so it’s a good idea to pay for assembly (sometimes mandatory with the Tonal), unless you are particularly strong or handy.
The good news? Most smart equipment manufacturers offer financing options that make it easier to manage the cost. For example, you can finance a Peloton bike for $49 per monthly over 39 months. Depending on the cost of your gym membership, exercising at home could save you money over time.
We break down each review’s costs and delivery/assembly processes so that you are fully informed.
Smart Treadmills: The Best
Treadmills are one of the most loved at-home fitness devices and with good reason. Treadmills can be used for running, walking, running, sprinting, and even mimicking hiking, provided that they have an inclined option. Although rowing machines can seem intimidating to beginners without proper technique and bicycle seats can be painful in the butts, treadmills are more user-friendly, accessible, and comfortable than most people do. Walking is something that we all do every day.
Treadmills can be expensive, difficult to assemble, noisy, and large. Particularly the NordicTrack Commercial 2950 requires a high ceiling. The belt is fully inclined and stands at 17.25 inches above the ground. These measurements are combined with the height of the highest person in the household to determine if your ceiling is high enough to accommodate the machine. This article explains how to determine if a treadmill can fit in your space.
The Commercial 2950 treadmill and other iFit-connected treadmills are able to adjust speed, incline and decline. This makes for an immersive experience when paired up with one of the many outdoor exercises available on the platform. The incline increases as soon as the instructor begins climbing a hill. This makes it feel like you are working out alongside them. Smart treadmills often offer a variety of workouts, beyond running. This adds value to your membership.
The Peloton Tread+ is distinguished by its elegant design with a 32-inch touch screen (1080p) display. Safety concerns mean that we aren’t recommending the Tread+ at this time. However, we will reconsider our recommendation once Peloton has released its software updates.