Updated: June 4, 2015

Best Pilates Reformers:

To all of you who have been in a pilates class at a gym or studio, you are probably familiar with the pilates reformer machine. Some have called it a 'medieval torture device' but we feel like that is taking it too far. You will get a great workout while on the pilates reformer and appreciate all the benefits when done. Pilates is really about the quality of each movement, not the quantity.

The pilates reformers are an excellent way to get started in pilates and we recommend doing the first few classes with a certified instructor. One that will show you and help you with the correct posture and alignment while engaging in each exercise. Ideally you take a few classes and then move on to your own home pilates reformer. The reformer pilates machines are expensive, so you need to be committed to using it for it to make sense financially. The Stott Pilates SPX is $2500 while the Stamina AeroPilates Pro XP556 sells for less than $900. We go into detail on each machine below and how to choose the right one for yourself.
pilates reformer





Choosing a Pilates Reformer

- Pilates is more than an exercise craze, it's a way of life for millions of us around the world. Beyond taking regular pilates classes at our local gym, many of us do them at home to stay fit and in shape. Aging is a normal part of life, but being able to keep your body flexible and your muscles toned requires some work. The pilates reformer machines are taking pilates to the next level. If you like your treadmill or elliptical machine, you should consider changing to a pilates reformer just for the improved cardio workout. It's easier on your joints and body compared to the running machines you find at the gym. Are you going to be able to run when you are 60 or 70? The pilates workouts on the reformer are something you can do for decades and you don't have to worry about your body breaking down or getting hurt. Get some certified instruction to start and you can quickly do the workouts on your own in the privacy of your home. The DVDs are easy to follow and give you endless ideas on fitness and workout routines that will keep you interested for a long time. We mentioned the top 2 selling pilates reformers above (STOTT and Stamina), but you will find plenty of other manufacturers including the Peak Pilate System Deluxe that retails for close to $6000. Not everyone needs the Peak Pilates machine, although it is very nice.

The Stamina AeroPilates 700 gets excellent feedback from consumers. We have tried that one at our local pilates studio and it worked great. The low-impact cardio rebounder is easy on the joints and something that everyone can handle. Some come with accessory items like the reformer box or the cardio rebounder while others don't. Be sure to check with the manufacturer before purchasing if those items are important to you. The more expensive they get, typically you get superior parts and materials so the construction on the springs, carriage, headrest, cardio rebounder, and leather straps will hold up better than less expensive models. If you are buying for a pilates studio or gym where the reformer machines will get hours of use each day, go with the high end machines. On the other hand, if you plan on using it a few times a week at home, then perhaps the sub $500 pilates reformers will do just fine. No matter which reformer machine you choose for your pilates workout, be sure to watch the safety video and learn the basics before doing any exercise. REVIEWS - We found comments and articles posted on websites like Livestrong.com, Health.com, and About.com in their Pilates section. Most feedback pointed to the STOTT and Stamina machines. You can browse the best selling pilates reformers online here.

Best Pilates Reformer:

RECOMMENDED - STOTT PILATES At Home SPX Reformer Bundle - One of the best home pilates reformers on the market. Yes, the package is expensive, but we found it to have everything you would need to improve flexibility, mobility, endurance, and your core strength. Comes with 4 full tension and 1 half tension reformer springs so you get variable resistance. Want comfort? The adjustable 4 position foot bar and extra thick foam cushioning on the platform extender are perfect. We like the accessory items like the metal roll up poll, reformer box, and 2 workout DVDs. The workout variety is what sets this machine apart. We found that the studio grade pilates reformer (STOTT SPX) held up well throughout our workouts and it was easy to store afterwards. The wheels allow you to simply lift the 100 pound product slightly off the floor and wheel it anywhere (watch the video below) - under a bed or sofa. There are over 250 pilates exercises you can do on this machine. The carriage, springs, and pads are all top quality and you see these machines in pilates studios. The machine is well balanced and very stable. Assembly is really easy, the only thing you need to work with are the springs and foot bar adjustments. There are dozens of online videos that walk you through the assembly and teach you how the spring tensions work.


Best Pilates Reformer Under $1000:

RECOMMENDED - Stamina AeroPilates Pro XP 556 Home Pilates Reformer - A great machine at a reduced price compared to the STOTT above. This pilates reformer comes in at about $900 and still offers up to 100 exercises so you can shape and tone your body with a complete workout. The free-form cardio rebounder (comes with it) allows you to do take on cardio workouts that are just as effective as those found on treadmills but you don't have to run to get it. Less overall impact on your joints. All of the Stamina pilates reformers we researched get excellent feedback from studio owners and customers. Easy to assemble and solid construction. If you are looking for an affordable pilates reformer for home use, then the Stamina XP 556 is a great value purchase. The frame is crafted with heavy-duty steel and oak finished wood. The commercial grade wheels let you move the machine effortlessly. The carriage glide is smooth and the adjustable straps, cords, and ropes make it easy for a variety of heights to use it. We read those from 5 feet to 6' 4" had no problems. Maximum weight is 300 lbs. You can see video of the Stamina in action below.