We've found the best reformers for every budget.
Parade.com has an extensive editorial partnership with Cleveland Clinic, consistently named as one of the nation's best hospitals in U.S. News & World Report's annual "America's Best Hospitals" survey. Click here to learn more about our health reporting policies.
Pilates was first introduced in New York by Joseph Pilates. And while it comes with many of the same strength and flexibility benefits as yoga, Pilates is performed on the floor and with a machine known as a Pilates reformer. While it looks a little bit like a torture device, a Pilates reformer serves the purpose of providing extra resistance so you aren’t just working against your body weight throughout the workout.
If you are looking to buy a Pilates reformer it is likely you are familiar with them and have taken at least one class, but just in case, we asked the experts what you should know before you made the (admittedly large) purchase.
How to shop for a Pilates reformer
Like any major piece of fitness equipment, not all Pilates reformers are created equal (and more features lead to a higher price tag). While it is a big ticket purchase, you don’t have to be an expert to reap the benefits of an in-home Pilates practice. Olivia Scira, co-owner of Southern California studio The Pilates Co., notes that Pilates reformers are for beginners and experts alike. “There are endless exercises ranging from beginner-friendly to super advanced that would make even the most fit person tremble and shake,” Scira shares.
So, what should you consider before buying a Pilates reformer? Katie Picazo, Scira’s business partner at The Pilates Co., stresses that in addition to considering cost, making sure you have enough space for a reformer is important (you’ll likely need more space than you think).
“You not only need space for the actual reformer, but you need space around the whole reformer on the ground so you have space to utilize the amazing versatility that the reformer offers,” advises Picazo. “You will also want to see if the reformer is easy to move or store. Some reformers have an option to have wheels underneath which are very home friendly.”
While you can be flexible choosing the material of the frame—aluminum, steel and wood are popular—Picazo does note that you should make sure any reformer you purchase uses springs for resistance (instead of cords).
The biggest piece of advice you’ll hear from experts? No matter how well-versed you think you may be in Pilates, if you buy a reformer, make sure you receive training — in-person or online — by a qualified trainer. Scira reassures us: “There are numerous, quality programs online that will be sure you remain safe on your reformer.”
Here at Parade.com, we're all about sharing products we love with our audience. When you make a purchase on an item seen on this page, we may earn a commission, however, all picks are independently chosen unless otherwise mentioned.
10 Best Pilates Reformer for Every Budget
If you’re ready to purchase a Pilates reformer but still aren’t sure which one is for you, we have rounded up seven of the best reformers for every budget (and every scenario).
If you want a quality budget machine, Stamina is known for its affordable fitness equipment and they have come through with a budget-friendly Pilates reformer. We should note that this machine uses cords versus springs for resistance — part of the reason the machine is so much more affordable than its counterparts — but its price point can be a segue into owning Pilates equipment if you aren’t looking for the most long-term reformer. The Stamina AeroPilates Reformer 287 Trainer is lightweight and folds for easy storage, making it a great option for small spaces. Stamina AeroPilates Reformer 287 Trainer, $419 at Dick's Sporting Goods
While the AeroPilates Pro Series Reformer 565 isn’t foldable for storage, if you want a longer reformer, taller users won’t mind because of the extra platform travel that was built into this machine. This reformer has a steel frame, aluminum rails and uses springs for resistance, and comes with many adjustable features (such as the headrest and foot bar) to help you get the most out of the reformer. AeroPilates Pro Series Reformer 565, $1,499 at Stamina
If you are looking for a Pilates reformer that was made solely with home use in mind, the Peak Pilates casa is what you’ve been searching for. It’s studio-height yet lightweight, thanks to the aluminum frame, and uses a spring system for resistance. Even more, its sleekness and home use was considered in the design, meaning it will match almost any aesthetic. Peak Pilates Casa Reformer, $2,295 at Peak Pilates
You don’t need to buy the most expensive Pilates reformer to have the one that consistently receives the highest ratings. There are a slew of accessories you can get for this reformer to make it your ideal set up and the “enhanced” springs give you even more resistance settings. Even better, Merrithew has an advertised 90-day return window if you aren’t completely satisfied (though we are pretty sure you will be). Merrithew at Home SPX Reformer, $2,372 on Amazon
When we say these are studio-quality reformers we aren’t kidding; in fact, Scira and Picazo note they use Balanced Body reformers in their Southern California studios. While there is a standard version available, Balanced Body allows you to design your own reformer (hence the “starting at” price point), so you can build your dream machine. While a wood machine — made of rock maple — we wanted to highlight this in the studio category because of its long history of being used by professionals. Balanced Body Studio Reformer, starting at $4,200 at Pilates
While Elina Pilates makes aluminum models, their wood reformers made out of rock maple should be considered if you can afford the price point. While ideal for studio use, this reformer comes with pre-set features (less confusing for those not well-versed in specific desired customizations). With multiple levels of spring resistance, this solid Pilates reformer comes at a price, but it is built to last. Elina Pilates Wood Reformer, $4,051 at Elina Pilates
The Reform RX Next Gen Pilates Reformer comes with a built-in screen, making taking classes even easier. If you are into owning the newest in fitness — or a Peloton user looking for a Pilates reformer to add to your collection — then this is the reformer for you. If you have the budget, this fully connected reformer will keep you and your family active thanks to the capability for unlimited profiles and on-demand classes. Reform RX Next Gen Pilates Reformer, $4,995 at Reform RX
This unit includes several resistance cords. It features an adjustable bully system that allows for smoother movements. All of the cushioned areas are supportive. The reformer can fold in half and has wheels that allow for easy storage. It also comes with four workout DVDs. AeroPilates Foldable Reformer 4420 with 4 Workout DVDs, $429 on Amazon
This basic Pilates reformer has a large stand that puts the unit in an elevated position. This allows the user to have an easier time getting on and off of the reformer. It features a foldable frame and wheels. To change out the rope length, it features easy-to-use clips. All parts are adjustable, to ensure you have a comfortable workout. Stamina Products AeroPilates Reformer 651, $629 on Amazon
This reformer allows you to customize your workout with multiple gears and adjustable strength levels. It has an aluminum alloy frame and wheels for easy storage. It includes many extras like an adjustable foot bar and shoulder rest, jumping board and a padded foot rest. Wolfmate Pilates Reformer All-in-One Pilates Home Workout System, $1,859 on Amazon
Next up, read up on the best beginner Pilates moves you can do at home.