24 of the best Smart Fitness Equipment by a Personal Trainer

By Inge
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Here is your guide to smart fitness equipment. As a personal trainer, I cover all the available types of smart workout machines for you.  This overview helps you select you best fitness equipment.

Smart stationary bikes have large touchscreens

In this guide we discuss smart stationary bikes, treadmills, rowers, cross-trainers (ellipticals) and smart stair steppers. And also smart fitness mirrors, smart pilates reformers and smart boxing sets.

This development of connected fitness machines is only getting started. Workouts tend to get more like playing, gaming and immersive experiences. I love it and hope you do too. 

Table of Contents

What makes fitness equipment smart?

Smart fitness equipment is essentially every workout machine that connects to the internet. Either through a screen or an app or both. 

Smart = to stream workouts

Smart Fitness Machines can stream workouts through the internet, that is what makes them “smart”. Optional with a real-time leaderboard and other gamifications. 

Off course, smart fitness equipment can also display your heart rate and track progress, like older “non-smart” cardio machines. 

Smart = virtual reality like a climb on Mount Everest

On the newest smart treadmills, you can immerse yourself, for example, in a climb of Mount Everest (with iFit). Or on a cycling tour through Big Sur (with Peloton). Or in a spinning class by a master celebrity trainer from LA (with Apple Fitness Plus). 

With the more advanced equipment, you don’t even have to change incline, decline and resistance anymore, this is all done automatically. 

All those enhancements are meant to motivate you to work out more, and for many people they do.

Smart = with a subscription to an app

To profit most from your smart fitness equipment, you need a subscription to a smart fitness app for streaming workouts. In customer reviews, I sometimes come across disappointed people who never realized they needed a subscription. 

In most cases, you can still use the equipment without a subscription. But then you just have the basic functionality and no extra features on a relatively expensive machine.

The most popular smart fitness apps are: 

iFit by Nordic Track

iFit started out being great in virtual running and hiking classes. In combination with a compatible treadmill, you can for example hike in the Grand Canyon. These days, iFit also supports other classes, like cycling, rowing, strength training and meditation.
Machines of the following brands integrate with iFit: ProForm, NordicTrack, FreeMotion, and Reebok.

Peloton Digital

Peloton started with virtual cycling classes. You need a special Peloton bike for the full experience of cycling through Big Sur. Wow! These days, like iFit, Peloton has classes for running, strength and more.

You can use the Peloton app on other equipment, but then you don’t have all the features. You stream the class to a tablet or TV and follow along.

Apple Fitness+

You need an Apple Watch to sign up for Apple Fitness+. Afterwards, you can stream workouts to an iPhone or iPad without the watch. Many smart fitness machines integrate with Apple Fitness+.

There are other fitness apps for streaming workouts, like Fitbit Premium, Zwift, Nike, but they are not as big. Nike even removed some of their workouts.

The development of the apps is at a rapid pace. With new classes added daily, and with more live classes, competitions and games. Especially if you love gadgets, games and fitness, this is exciting. It can bring your workouts to a whole new level.

Research the different subscriptions

However, the subscriptions come at a price. Usually about $39 per month, but there are many offers. Therefore, it is important to consider the price and use of the accompanying app, before purchasing any smart fitness equipment. Some apps cover just one type of workout, for example just rowing for $39 per month.

Other apps cover a multitude of training, like running, cycling, rowing, strength training and more, also for $39 per month. So carefully consider your training aspirations.   

If you have older cardio equipment, you can still use the smart fitness apps by attaching a tablet or streaming to a TV.

Smart Stationary Bikes

The newest stationary bikes are very silent, and come with large touch screens. To make full use of the bike, you need a subscription to an app with cycling classes and preferably cycling shoes.

The different bikes have different accents in their workouts. For example, the Soulcycle at home bike focuses on riding in cadence with the beat. And on the Bowflex Velocore, you can lean your bike to the sides, like in real life road cycling.  

Most bikes are available with different screen sizes. The top stationary bikes have screen sizes between 21” and 22”. 

Some screens are rotatable, so you can step off the bike and continue your workout on a mat. 

The top 5 most popular smart home bikes are:

Peloton Bike

What people like about the Peloton bike are the many live classes each day. Many people praise the engaging classes and the connections with celebrity instructors.

According to reviews on Consumer Affairs, people report issues with installation service and delivery time, and the fact that you can hardly use the bike without the membership [1]. 

  • Screensize: 21.5”
  • Price: $$$ + subscription to the Peloton app.
  • Rotatable screen: Optional accessory “The Pivot”
  • Auto-adjust resistance: Yes

SoulCycle at home bike

This cycling concept by Equinox has a different focus than the other smart bikes. The aim is to ride in cadence with the beat of the music.

People like the Soulcycle bike most because of the meditative, Zen character with focus on rhythm. At Google Reviews, people complain about not being allowed to use the bike without a subscription and poor customer service. [2]

  • Screensize: 21.5”
  • Price: $$$$ + subscription to the Soulcycle app (free for Equinox members).
  • Rotatable screen: No
  • Auto-adjust resistance: Yes

The NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle

Together with the iFit app, this bike automatically adjusts your resistance and incline for a more immersive experience, a feature also available on the Peloton Bike+.

On Google Reviews, people like the auto-adjust of resistance and incline, and the fact that it is ultra quiet. Some report issues with assembly and installation. Also, some people report the bike is wobbly at the front because of the heavy screen [3]

  • Screensize: 22”
  • Price: $$$ + subscription to iFit.
  • Rotatable screen: No
  • Auto-adjust resistance: Yes

The Bowflex VeloCore

This bike is unique. You can lean side to side for a full-body workout and more-lifelike riding experience.

This bike has thousands of raving reviews on Google. People love the bike, its quietness, customer service, and the adaptive workouts with leaning to the sides. 

Some people complain about the voice “like a self help seminar” cheering you up all along the way, and cannot be turned off [4].

  • Screensize: 22”
  • Price: $$$ + subscription to JRNY-app.
  • Rotatable screen: No
  • Auto-adjust resistance: No

Stryde Bike

At Google Reviews, people rave about the community with other Stryde riders and instructors, about the high quality of the bike and the unlocked tablet. Nice and quiet. [5].

One reviewer reports a technical issue, and after that refund issues.

  • Screensize: 22”
  • Price: $$ + subscription to the Stryde Digital App.
  • Rotatable screen: Optional swivel upgrade
  • Auto-adjust resistance: No

Smart Treadmills

As a personal trainer, I always tell people to go and run outdoors. But now that I have seen the smart treadmills… wow! The virtual reality experience feels so real. You run or climb in the most beautiful places with a knowledgeable instructor who runs or climbs with you. This can motivate exercise more.

Some equipment automatically adjusts speed and incline. Treadmills differ in the level of decline and incline. And if space is an issue, look for a foldable treadmill.

5 Most Popular Smart Home Treadmills

Bowflex Treadmill 22

Treadmillreviews gives the Bowflex Treadmill a high rating. The only issue they report is a relatively high noise level, compared to other treadmills. This is the only treadmill with a decline option. And this treadmill is foldable.

  • Screensize: 22”
  • Incline: -5 to 20%
  • Price: $$$$ + subscription to the JRNY App.
  • Rotatable screen: No
  • Auto-adjust incline, decline, speed: Yes
  • Foldable: Yes
  • Speed: 0 – 12mph

Peloton Tread

The Peloton Tread treadmill, together with the Peloton App, provide workouts for running, hiking, walking, strength and boot camp.

From Google Reviews: some people complain the speed dial is not precise, others report delivery issues [6].

  • Screensize: 23.8”
  • Incline: 0 to 12.5%
  • Price: $$$$ + subscription to the Peloton App.
  • Rotatable screen: No
  • Auto-adjust incline, decline, speed: Yes
  • Foldable: No
  • Speed: 0 – 12mph

NordicTrack Commercial 2950

The Nordic Track Treadmill in combination with iFit gives one of the best virtual experiences with runs, hikes and climbs in nature all over the world. You walk along with experienced trainers and get to see the world. The inclines and declines are auto-adjusted as you go along.

In reviews on Google, people complain about poor build quality after using the treadmill for some time [7].

  • Screensize: 22”
  • Incline: -3 to 15%
  • Price: $$$$ + subscription to iFit
  • Rotatable screen: No
  • Auto-adjust incline, decline, speed: Yes
  • Foldable: Yes
  • Speed: 0 – 12mph

ProForm Pro 9000 Treadmill

The Proform Treadmill integrates with the iFit app. That means you can have all the great runs, hikes and climbs that the Nordic Track Treadmills have, for a lower price tag.

Customer reviews on Google are positive. People praise this treadmill as solid, easy to assemble, easy to fold. [8].

  • Screensize: 22”
  • Incline: -3 to 12%
  • Price: $$ + subscription to iFit App
  • Rotatable screen: No
  • Auto-adjust resistance: Yes
  • Foldable: Yes
  • Speed: 0 – 12mph

Horizon T303 Treadmill

Significantly less sophisticated. No large touchscreen, but the option to attach a tablet. And no connected membership. No decline and no auto-adjust speed and decline.

In Google reviews, people call this treadmill “Ok for the lower price. If you are running or walking less than 20 miles per week, OK, otherwise get an upgraded motor.” Some feel the treadmill is “unreliable, made with cheap parts”. It creaks when you go faster than 3.5 mph. Perfect for starters”[9].

  • Screensize: 22”
  • Incline: 0 to 12%
  • Price: $$, no subscription, tablet holder for streaming classes, for example Apple Fitness Plus.
  • Rotatable screen: No
  • Auto-adjust resistance: No
  • Foldable: No
  • Speed: 0 – 12mph

Smart Rowers

Rowing is one of the best cardio exercises for your whole body. You engage your arms, legs and core, but without the heavy shocks on your knees from running. 

Some rowers auto-adjust resistance as you go along with a streamed workout. Others provide water sounds to enhance the experience. Some provide 1-on-1 personal training to learn the rowing technique properly.

Ergatta

The Ergatta rower is different from the other rowing machines. Because you don’t get workouts where you see an instructor. Instead, it feels like a computer game, where you see your competitors in other lanes.

The rower is designed with wood elements.

This rower has 95% 5-star reviews on Google. People praise the ramification option, called “The Experience”. You don’t get celebrity instructors, but games.

  • Screensize: 17.3”
  • Price: $$$ + subscription to the Ergatta App
  • Rotatable screen: No
  • Auto-adjust resistance: Yes, after initial calibration, the rower adjusts resistance as you progress
  • Foldable: Yes
  • Speed: 0 – 12mph

Hydrow

Google reviews: People rave about the immersive experience with the workouts. Also, children appear to like the machine. Some people complain that there are only 2 live classes a day, and that they are dull. [10].

  • Screensize: 22”
  • Price: $$$$ + subscription to the Hydrow App
  • Rotatable screen: Yes
  • Auto-adjust resistance: No
  • Foldable: Yes

Nordic Track RW 900 Rower

Nordic Track has the advantage of integration with the iFit app. This app has so many great virtual outdoor experiences. Not just rowing, but also running and cycling. 

However, in Google Reviews, this rower has a lower score than other rowers in this list. People complain about technical issues after a year due to design. Price/quality does not match according to others [11].

  • Screensize: 22”
  • Price: $$ + subscription to the iFit app
  • Rotatable screen: Yes
  • Auto-adjust resistance: Yes
  • Foldable: Yes

Echelon Smart Rower

The Echelon Smart Rower has virtual reality workouts, for example row down Red Lotus Lake in Thailand.

In Google Reviews, people love the machine is quiet, others complain about the workout music that seems outdated [12].

  • Screensize: 21.5”
  • Price: $$ + subscription to the Echelon app
  • Rotatable screen: Yes
  • Auto-adjust resistance: No, but easy toggle in handlebar
  • Foldable: Yes

Smart Cross Trainers and Stair Steppers

Cross trainers or elliptical trainers and stair steppers take up less space than a treadmill or rower. With ellipticals, you train your arms, core and legs simultaneously. 

However, smart cross trainers and stair steppers seem less popular at home than treadmills, stationary bikes and rowers. Possibly, because the virtual experience of a run through Grand Canyon feels less real on an elliptical.  

NordicTrack FS14i

  • Type: Cross Trainer
  • Screen size: 14”
  • Price: $$$$ + subscription to the iFit app
  • Rotatable screen: Yes
  • Auto-adjust resistance: Yes
  • Incline: 0 – 10%

Bowflex Max Trainer M9

  • Type: Cross Trainer
  • Screen size: 14”
  • Price: $$$ + subscription to the JRNY app
  • Rotatable screen: No
  • Auto-adjust resistance: No
  • Incline: No

ProForm Carbon E7

  • Type: Cross Trainer
  • Screen size: 7”
  • Price: $$ + subscription to the iFIT app
  • Rotatable screen: No
  • Auto-adjust resistance: Yes
  • Incline: 0 – 20%

Proform Carbon HIIT H7

  • Type: Stair Stepper
  • Screen size: 7”
  • Price: $$ + subscription to the iFIT app
  • Rotatable screen: No
  • Auto-adjust resistance: Yes

Smart Fitness Mirrors

Smart fitness mirrors are a separate category of smart fitness equipment. The concept is not based on classic cardio machines, but modeled after group classes in gyms and personal training sessions. The smart fitness mirror is literally a large mirror, with interactive options like real time feedback on movements. 

You can do different kinds of fitness with these mirrors. From boot camp style workouts, to strength training, from barre to pilates.

Read our guide on Smart Fitness Mirrors here.

Smart Pilates Reformers

Pilates has been around for a long time, and so have the reformers. But the smart reformers are relatively new. In fact, I found only one with a screen to stream workouts. Another reformer, Flexia, comes close. 

Reform RX

  • Screen size: 21.5”
  • Price: $$$$$ + subscription to the Reform RX app
  • Rotatable screen: No
  • Auto-adjust resistance: No

Flexia – The Reformer

  • The Reformer by Flexia is actually a piece of equipment without a screen and without internet connection. So, why do I mention it here? The Reformer comes with The Studio online app with Pilates classes. You stream those classes on a tablet or TV.
  • Screen size: N/A
  • Price: $$$$$ + subscription to the Studio app
  • Rotatable screen: N/A
  • Auto-adjust resistance: N/A

Smart Boxing

Smart boxing is a relatively new development of smart fitness equipment. The system works with punch trackers in your boxing gloves, connected to an app and a tablet or TV screen to display the workout.

You can choose between boxing and kickboxing. 

FightCamp

FightCamp offers boxing and kickboxing classes. You stream the on demand workouts on your tablet or TV.

  • Price: $ + subscription to the FightCamp app
  • Punch: freestanding bag
  • Gloves with punch tracking technology
  • Leaderboard
  • Calculate speed and intensity of every punch
  • Boxing, kickboxing
  • Stream on demand workouts on your TV

Dribble up

Dribble Up just uses boxing gloves with built-in trackers. Optionally, you can purchase a small freestanding bag. This system is mainly focused on High Intensity Interval Workouts.

  • Price: $ + subscription to the Dribble Up app
  • Boxing gloves designed to be tracked
  • For HIIT workouts
  • Small boxing bag is optional

Liteboxer

Liteboxer has yet another concept. This system works with a board mounted to the wall or on a floor stand. You get instructions where to hit with colored lights on the rhythm of music of your choice. Liteboxer is compatible with Meta Quest VR for extra immersion in a virtual boxing game.

  • Price: $
  • Leaderboard: Yes
  • Compatible with Meta Quest VR glasses
  • Tablet sized touchscreen mounted to the side of the boxing board. 
  • Each hit is scored on speed, accuracy and timing.
  • Trainer classes and single song punch tracks.

What to do next?

Consider the workouts you plan to do, the space you have for different equipment, and your budget. Pay attention to the subscriptions, because these can add up if you use different machines. Also check out our guides on smart fitness mirrors and half garage gym ideas.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Inge van Haselen is a certified Personal Trainer and Health Coach. For over 17 years, she has been coaching hundreds of clients in her gym. Inge published several programs on health and fitness. It is her passion to help you have the best Home Gym for your needs. So you can be in the best shape of your life.

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