Tempo vs MIRROR: Battle of the Smart Home Gyms

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by  William Barton | Last Updated: 

For pumping iron

Tempo

The Adult Man Vs Feature Image

For feeling the burn

MIRROR

The Adult Man Vs Feature Image

If you’re committed to only working out from home, then the Tempo Fitness Studio is the only option that comes with actual weights. To me, weights are indispensable to a good workout, so it fits an important role. But the Tempo is also one of the heaviest things on the entire planet, and your workouts require a lot more space than a workout with the MIRROR---partly because the machine is so much larger.

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While Tempo is a good-looking machine, MIRROR is less intrusive in terms of size, weight, and space needed to get your sweat on. I miss having weights with the MIRROR, though. I doubt you’d be building much muscle with MIRROR---it’s more for cardio and conditioning rather than strength training, and I personally believe that strength training is critical for health.

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Pros:

  • It’s the only home workout studio that includes actual weights
  • The AI is fairly accurate in judging your posture and form
  • There’s a wide range of instructors so you can find someone who’s your style
  • It’s relatively lightweight and easy to move---I could see even moving this in and out of the room you want to exercise in daily
  • The design is non-intrusive---it looks more like a nice mirror than it does a workout machine
  • In addition to more standard workout classes, MIRROR has several mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and even prenatal classes

Cons:

  • It’s extremely heavy and difficult to move around
  • It’s more space-intensive, especially when compared to the Mirror
  • The most resistance you’ll get is with bands, and if you want to graduate to dumbbells, it’ll cost extra

The first workout is the hardest. 

You’re stiff, back is aching, and your joints are wondering what the heck is this?

But that rush you get when you finish is totally worth it. And after a few weeks, you’ll actually feel bummed that life got in the way of your workout. Which means you hit it harder the next day.

When we were all cooped up in doors, I wanted to get the best workout possible. Yes, I had dreams of emerging from quarantine as a Greek god…didn’t work. 

But I still gave it a shot, and I had the chance to test out two of the most popular home-workout solutions on the market: the Tempo Fitness Studio and MIRROR

Each has their pros and cons, and in this breakdown, I’ll give you my thoughts on which is the best option. 

Tempo Studio vs MIRROR Overview

Tempo Studio Product Image Lululemon mirror
Tempo MIRROR
Classes 1,000s of classes, including live 10,000 across 50 categories (plus daily live)
Space Needed 100 square feet for comfort 60 square feet for comfort
Subscription Cost $39/mo $39/mo
Warranty 30-day returns with $250-$350 shipping cost 30-day trial and 30-day returns with $250 shipping cost
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Tempo Studio

adding weights to the Tempo Studio

The Tempo Studio is the first AI-powered home gym system that includes weights. And not just a dumbbell or two: Tempo loads you up with pastel-colored plates that can get heavy—we’re talking up to 45 pounds per dumbbell. 

The Studio is Tempo’s most space-intensive, complete option, and with it, you get a beautiful looking machine that holds all the equipment and acts as the screen, too.

While you’re working up a sweat, an AI scanner tracks your posture to make sure that you’re not bending too far backward and putting strain on your low-back. Or that when you’re squatting, you’re really going as far as you need to for an effective workout. 

doing squats with the Tempo Studio

The Studio comes with a heart rate monitor as well, which is awesome for making sure you’re pushing yourself into that 160-180 bpm range, but not further.

I found that with my workouts, I was constantly competing in the leaderboard, trying to catch that guy named Greg who I’m 99% certain was cheating the system. Whether Greg is a man or just a legend, that little feature on the Tempo Studio helped me push hard. 

Tempo Studio mat

I firmly believe that everyone should strength train (i.e. lift weights). It’s fantastic for your cardiovascular system and helps improve bone density, in addition to making you look even sexier. 

Of course, you can just get some dumbbells for your home, but if you’re interested in a super modern, class-driven, aesthetically pleasing home gym system that includes weights, the Tempo Studio is the industry’s best. 

Tempo Studio closeup

Once you have the Studio in your home, the subscription is $39 per month, which includes all past classes, daily live classes, and also includes a health dashboard where you can track your progress. 

I found the health dashboard extremely helpful in tracking my progress: you can see your strength gains (in terms of the increase in weights lifted), and you can also see your progress with cardio and conditioning easily (in terms of heart-rate). 

Tempo Studio

The all-in-one home gym, complete with AI-tracking to help keep your form perfect through your working sets. The Studio comes with two dumbbells, a barbell, and 75lbs of free weights so you can harness the fat-burning, muscle-building power of lifting in the comfort of your home.

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MIRROR

Mirror by lululemon

MIRROR is Lululemon’s entry in the home-workout space, and it’s a thing of beauty.

I’m not going to lie, there were a few weeks here and there where I didn’t get a workout in, but I just straight up used MIRROR as a mirror. And unlike the Tempo Studio, most people who wouldn’t know to look for a workout system wouldn’t even notice the MIRROR. 

One thing I love about MIRROR is that it’s relatively lightweight. Don’t get me wrong: it’s still pretty heavy at 70 lbs, but the size and shape make it manageable for one person to move. 

Mirror workout male

MIRROR has over 10,000 classes and they offer several live classes every day. And you can also “phone a friend” and attend a class together if they have a MIRROR, too. 

In my experience, MIRROR workouts are a lot more conditioning and cardio based, mainly because the most resistance you get is with bands. 

Mirror app and fitness bands

The big downside to MIRROR is that your strength training options are very limited, so building significant muscle isn’t really possible with it. And that’s been the big limitation of home-gym systems since the beginning. 

But where MIRROR excels is in its huge variety of conditioning-style classes and its mindfulness focus. Plus there are really specific focuses like prenatal classes that are well worth the cost for some people who might be thinking about joining a studio for a similar workout. 

MIRROR by Lululemon

Mirror is an excellent home fitness studio if you don’t have time to drive back and forth to the gym but still want to prioritize your health and fitness.

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MIRROR vs Tempo Studio: Features Head to Head

Space

Mirror fitness bands in actionq

I think the biggest consideration to make before bringing either the Tempo Studio or the MIRROR home is: where are you going to put it? And what’s it going to actually be like once it’s in your home?

So let’s start with the aesthetics. 

Both are sleek, modern, and have that look that makes millennials like me want to crush some avocado toast, drink a mimosa, and start doing burpees in my living room while contemplating whether my actions are in line with my zodiac sign.

how Mirror look in apartment

But when it comes to the look, it’s hard to beat MIRROR. While the Tempo Studio is a great looking piece of equipment, the MIRROR doubles as a mirror, so it looks great in pretty much any space. 

There’s also the issue of how much room each piece of equipment requires. 

Tempo Studio fitness machine in living room

You’d think that with the barbell, dumbbells, and all the weight-plates, the Tempo Studio would be massive, but it’s not. The design is streamlined and very well thought-out, so you’re getting the whole package without taking up unnecessary space. 

But whenever you’re dealing with a barbell, you’re just going to need more room for your workout. 

I think you need 80-100 square feet of space to comfortably go all-out with a Tempo Studio workout. For the MIRROR, I’d trim that down to 60 square feet because you’re not dealing with weights. But you still want plenty of room to do those crazy side-to-side jumping lunges all these sadistic trainers seem bent on making you suffer through. 

Mirror model doing pushups

And a final consideration I think is important to consider before picking one over the other is the weight. 

The MIRROR is about 70 pounds, and because it’s narrow and tall, you can grab both sides and grip it fairly easily. For me, moving the MIRROR around was do-able. My wife couldn’t move it, but I think any two-person team could handle the MIRROR with ease. 

adding weight to dumbbellsTempo Studio

The Tempo Studio is 100 pounds empty, and nearly 200 pounds if you leave all the weights in the cabinet. And besides being heavy, it’s also triangular shaped at the top, so it’s difficult to grip, making it feel even heavier. 

Even when moving the weights out, it’s still difficult for two people to carry. Once the Studio is in place, it will likely live there. But, Tempo has white glove delivery service, which means you can tell the big strong movers to put it wherever you want and they’ll take care of it for you.

The MIRROR is much more maneuverable in your home and requires a lot less space overall for getting in a good workout.

Winner: Aesthetics and Maneuverability
MIRROR by Lululemon

Mirror is an excellent home fitness studio if you don’t have time to drive back and forth to the gym but still want to prioritize your health and fitness.

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Classes

doing curls with the Tempo Studio

Because the Tempo Studio is focused on weight-training, they have a cool focus on “progression” training. That means they’ll string together classes in a way that will help you build muscle and continue to increase the amount of iron you can pump.

MIRROR has more classes, and a wider variety of classes (over 50 fitness categories), but none of them can truly offer the same strength-training benefits that the Tempo can, just by virtue of the Tempo having significant weights. 

Overall, MIRROR has a better and wider selection of classes focused on cardio and conditioning. And they also have a wider selection of flexibility and mindfulness classes. Plus the daily live classes cover several different categories and are a bit more broad as well. 

Mirror app dispaly
The MIRROR app

But while the Tempo Studio has a more limited range of cardio, conditioning, flexibility, and mindfulness classes, they have something MIRROR doesn’t: true strength training.

And that’s not to say the Tempo Studio doesn’t do cardio, conditioning, flexibility, and mindfulness—they offer dozens of classes for each category, and I liked the ones I tried. But I think because MIRROR is limited to those categories, they go deeper so there’s more variety. 

As a standalone, the Tempo Studio wins in this category because they have strength training with weights. 

Winner: Classes Selection
Tempo Studio

The all-in-one home gym, complete with AI-tracking to help keep your form perfect through your working sets. The Studio comes with two dumbbells, a barbell, and 75lbs of free weights so you can harness the fat-burning, muscle-building power of lifting in the comfort of your home.

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Subscription

using Mirror fitness bands

Both the Tempo and MIRROR cost $39 per month as a subscription fee for access to all the classes and your personal health dashboard. 

I’d like it if each offered a limited set of classes you could use without a subscription, but neither do—the subscription is a necessary cost you need to factor in. 

Tempo Studio california dumbells with ten pounds
Tempo Studio dumbbell

Tempo is also offering a cool rental alternative if the Studio feels like too much of an up-front cost: you can rent the weights and a few dumbbells (plus a nice-looking little cabinet), and get access to the workouts via your TV or computer. You also have access to a personal trainer to keep you honest, and all of that is for $59 a month.

The personal trainer is pretty limited (one 30-minute call every 3 months), but it’s still a cool feature so you can at least formulate a plan and follow up to have some accountability. 

Tempo Studio vs MIRROR: Which is Best for You?

tempo vs mirror best workout machine

I think the best option you can choose to optimize your health and minimize the amount of disruption in your home is to get MIRROR for flexibility and conditioning, and supplement it with a gym membership to cycle some weight training in your weekly routine. 

Best as a Gym Supplement
MIRROR by Lululemon

Mirror is an excellent home fitness studio if you don’t have time to drive back and forth to the gym but still want to prioritize your health and fitness.

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But if you’re looking for an “all-in-one” solution to get consistently great workouts from home, then I’d actually choose neither: I think Tempo Move is the best choice. You rent the weights and have access to all the classes for a much lower up-front cost. Yes, the subscription is higher ($59 per month compared to $39 per month), but it’s the price of convenience. 

If the question is purely between the Tempo Studio and MIRROR, it’s a tougher call: I love that the Tempo includes weights, and I think weight training is the best thing you can do for your health and body-aesthetics. 

Best for Strength Training
Tempo Studio

The all-in-one home gym, complete with AI-tracking to help keep your form perfect through your working sets. The Studio comes with two dumbbells, a barbell, and 75lbs of free weights so you can harness the fat-burning, muscle-building power of lifting in the comfort of your home.

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But the MIRROR is way easier to have and move around your home. Plus it blends in no matter what your decor is. So there are some major benefits there. Plus because MIRROR is limited to conditioning, flexibility, and mindfulness, they have a much broader catalog of workouts for those areas. 

Do you have a small space? Do you need something where you can work up a sweat in 30 minutes before getting back to everything that needs to get done for the day? Get the MIRROR.

Do you want to build some muscle and improve your body composition (lower body fat % and higher muscle weight %)? Do you have a bit more room to dedicate to your workout? Get the Tempo Studio

Do you want the best of both worlds, and you’re willing to pay a higher monthly fee? Check out Tempo Move

FAQs

Which is better: Tempo or MIRROR?

Tempo is better for strength training, while MIRROR is more compact and has a greater variety of conditioning and flexibility classes. To decide which is the best for you, you must know your goals. My choice is the Tempo, but that’s because I want to increase my muscle. But there are major advantages to the MIRROR, too.

Is there a monthly fee with Tempo?

Yes, the monthly subscription to the Tempo Studio is $39 per month. The same is true for MIRROR. Tempo also offers the Move, which is $59 per month, but doesn’t come with the same up-front cost as the Tempo Studio.

Can you use the MIRROR or Tempo without a subscription?

You can use the Tempo weights without a subscription, but neither system fully works without a subscription. The main benefits are the classes, and you’re not able to access classes for either the Tempo or MIRROR without the monthly subscription fee.

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Tempo Studio
Best for strength training
Tempo Studio
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MIRROR by Lululemon
More compact and best for conditioning
MIRROR by Lululemon
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