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The Best Pilates Reformer (for all prices ranges)

  • January 12, 2022
  • By Brittany
  • 0 Comments
The Best Pilates Reformer (for all prices ranges)

You’ve been attending pilates reformer classes now for awhile and you’ve decided that you are a big fan of the reformer and all it can do for your pilates practice.  You are ready to take it to the next level and want to start practicing in your own home.  But which machine should you buy?  

One of the most important things to consider when choosing a Pilates reformer is your price range.  What type of reformer you can get will depend a lot on how much you have to spend.  Reformers can be very pricey, especially studio quality machines, so having an deal of your budget ahead of time will be helpful.  This guide will give you a range of options for different price points.

Another thing to consider is how much space you have to keep your reformer and whether you will need to store it in between uses.  Some machines can easily (or relatively easily) folded and stored, while others are not necessarily moveable.  Also, some machines are elevated while others are floor-based. Depending on your ceiling height, you may decide you need a machine on the floor.

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Aeropilates Reformer

aeropilates reformer

This is the pilates reformer that I personally own!  It is the least expensive of the bunch and it is also the most compact because it actually folds in half!  This is the perfect reformer if you are just starting out and don’t want to invest a huge amount of money.  It comes in at just under $500, making it an absolute bargain in the reformer world.

Advantages:

  • It’s relatively lightweight and can be moved pretty easily by folding it and using the wheels on the bottom. 
  • It is easy to assemble (I did it myself!) and comes with all necessary parts and pieces.
  • It comes with a stand so you can decide if you would like to use the reformer raised off the ground or on the ground.  If you are constantly storing it by folding it and moving it, you may prefer not to use the stand.
  • It comes with a cardio rebounder jumpboard to allow you to participate in jumping workouts!  You can easily interchange the jumpboard with the footbar.
  • The carriage is padded and comfortable.
  • The head rest can be adjusted up or down.
  • The strap length and height are adjustable.
  • The machine is pretty small so it doesn’t take up an entire room!
  • This is by far the most inexpensive full reformer you will find!
  • Comes with workout DVDs.

Disadvantages: 

  • There are only 4 “springs” and the springs are actually cords.  Most reformers I have used in class have 5 springs so this can sometimes make the workout a bit confusing.  Also, the cords are all the same resistance strength making it hard to vary the resistance properly.  Although, you can purchase different colored cords to change the resistance.  I bought two red cords to replace two of the original black cords that came with the machine.  The red cords are 2x as heavy in resistance, which is great for exercises like footwork, which require more resistance.  You can also purchase yellow springs (which I have not done).  These are equivalent to half springs and are great for lighter resistance exercises.  Changing the cords is not as easy as I had hoped.  I needed my husband to help me because they were so hard to pull and tie, given that they were heavier cords.
  • The machine is a bit narrow.  For standing work, this can be really daunting as you don’t have a wide base of support.  Also, the standing platform is not very wide so you really need to use your core to balance and be very very careful standing on the machine.  Compared to studio reformers, you feel a lot more unstable.
  • Sometimes the reformer feels too short.  When pushing out and in, it seems the stoppers come up earlier than when using a studio reformer so I sometimes feel that my moves are a little stunted.  Also, when using the rebounder for jumping, I feel myself reaching the back edge of the reformer very quickly!
  • The footbar doesn’t move.  There is only one footbar position and that is all the way upright.  If you have ever taken a pilates teacher training (or even done a pilates class), you know that reformer footbars are adjustable up and down based on the exercise and how high the feet should be in relation.  An adjustable footbar is also great for being able to wedge a box on the platform to perform some exercises and it isn’t possible with this model.  The footbars are also often adjustable forward and back based on the height of the participant, which is not the case with this footbar.  
  • Because the machine folds there is a bump in the middle of the carriage that you can feel as you use it.  It’s not a huge issue but it may bother some people.
  • The footbar and jumpboard/rebounder platform are narrow and small.  If you are used a studio reformer, you will find that the footbar and jumpboard are quite narrow and a bit on the small side.  Especially when jumping, you will notice that jumping out to second position is not really possible.  I kind of fake it by kicking my legs out wider than I actually land since I would land off the jumpboard.

Accessories 

Red Cords

Advanced Kit with box

Yellow Cords

Double Loop Straps

Pull Up Bar

Merrithew At Home SPX

merrithew at home reformer

This home reformer makes it easier to get that studio workout at home.  I’ve used this reformer during a private session while traveling.  The springs are super challenging!

Advantages:

  • This reformer comes as a bundled packages so you also get:
    • A reformer box
    • Footstrap
    • A platform extender (this is awesome because I hate feeling like I’m going to fall when I’m standing on the platform!).
    • A pole
    • 2 workout dvds
  • It comes with 4 full tension springs and 1 1/2 tension spring.
  • The footbar is adjustable in four positions.
  • The headrest is adjustable.
  • It has six carriage stopper positions to accommodate different heights.
  • It’s built to withstand high intensity use.
  • It comes 90% assembled and takes about 15-20 minutes to complete assembly.
  • It sits low to the ground with wheels so it can be stored under a bed.

Disadvantages:

  • It is on the pricey side at close to $2,500.  
  • The pulley system is standard and not retractable.  I found the ropes to be a bit annoying during one exercise while using this machine.  And it is difficult to get the straps even.
  • The spring tension seemed strong.  I am pretty strong and can easily work with two red for a lot of exercises on a Balanced Body reformer, but two springs on this machine was a lot and there isn’t much option to adjust.
  • The reformer sits low to the ground and there are no options for raising the height.

Accessories

Jumpboard

Balanced Body Allegro Reformer

best pilates reformers

This is the precursor to my favorite Balanced Body reformer, the Allegro 2 (which you can get on the floor or elevated).  The reason why I chose this reformer though is because you can actually retrofit this one to raise it off the ground for about $300.  So this one gives you the best option for on the floor or elevated reformer.  It is also one of the reformers I used in my reformer teacher training so I’m pretty familiar with it!  It is professional quality in the comfort of your own home.

Advantages

  • This is a really high quality reformer that you will find in use by studios.
  • It comes with wheels so you can wheel the reformer out of the way when not in use.
  • The retrofit kit allows you to raise the reformer off the ground, if you so desire.  
  • It has a five spring configuration (3 Red, 1 Blue, 1 Yellow).
  • It has a moveable footbar (4 positions).
  • It has a non-slip standing platform.
  • It has a 10 year limited warranty!
  • It comes mostly assembled and is easy to assemble out of the box.
  • It has adjustable strap length.
  • You can purchase the reformer with the legs instead of separately.
  • The carriage is wide and comfortable.
  • The headerest is adjustable.
  • Comes with a workout DVD.
  • Comes with a double loop strap–one for feet and one for hands!

Disadvantages

  • It is on the pricer side at over $2,000 a pop.
  • I don’t love that when you adjust the strap length, the extra rope for the straps just hangs off the side.  Most other reformers have the adjustable mechanism under the reformer but this one has it on top.

Accessories 

Jumpboard

Reformer Box

NOTE: This post has been updated in 2022. To see the earlier version of the best pilates reformer post, click here.

By Brittany, January 12, 2022
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