What Is the Best Pilates Reformer? (My Top 4 Choices)

Deciding on the best Pilates reformer for you can be a difficult choice. Here’s a shopping guide with information about the top 4 reformers.

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Buying a reformer for your home is a strong declaration that you love Pilates. Although this is a common piece of home equipment, it can be quite pricey.

In my opinion, there are four main manufacturers of high-quality reformers. Three of the manufacturers are best known for their studio-grade reformers, and the fourth manufacturer is known for high-quality home reformers.

When I bought my first reformer, I bought a home model. It was fine for me personally to learn reformer exercises on. However, when I decided that I wanted to teach clients on the reformer, I sprung for a studio model.

At the time, the difference was unbelievable. It was clear that the studio reformer was far superior to my home model. The carriage movement was smoother, the footbar was sturdier, the springs added depth to the exercises, and it was more comfortable to work on.

Times have changed, and the home reformers that are sold today are not the dinky models of a decade ago. They offer substance and value. And they make it harder to decide which is the best Pilates reformer.

Here’s more about what I think are the top four Pilates reformers, what they have to offer, and what I think the best Pilates reformer is. (The following links are affiliate links. If you make an Amazon purchase through the link, I earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.)

Balanced Body

Balanced Body Studio Reformer with Classic Footbar

In a word, the Balanced Body Studio Reformer is beautiful. Its maple frame and black upholstery look sleek and professional, but they’re sturdy enough for daily use.

Features

Strata Rock Maple Frame

A solid wood frame is not just sturdy. It’s also beautiful and warm compared to the metal frame that some other manufacturers produce.

Long Carriage

This is a particularly important item for tall individuals. As your legs press against the footbar, you’ll slide the carriage of your reformer. For tall people, sometimes the carriage will stop because your legs are so long and the length of the rails is inadequate for your height.

The length of these rails is 41 inches (104 cm).

Sturdy Yet Adjustable Footbar

The footbar is supported by two metal arms, and it adjusts to three positions including down. This is pretty standard for professional level reformers.

The Perks

  • Foam padded carriage
  • Adjustable ropes & risers
  • 5 Springs: 1 blue, 3 red, 1 green
  • Sitting box (16″ w x 29″ l x 11.5″ h) (41cm x 74cm x 29cm)
  • Loops/handles:
    -Single D-ring cotton loops (1 pair)
    -Neoprene handles (1 pair)
  • A streaming workout video

Handmade in the USA

For those who like to purchase products made in the USA, this is a big deal. However, even if you don’t really care where your item is made, you might care that it’s handmade. To me, handmade items tend to show a level of skill and care above what might be crafted and assembled by a machine.

Dimensions

  • Height: 14 inches (36 cm)
  • Length: 93 inches (236 cm)
  • Width: 27 inches (69 cm)
  • Reformer weight: 152 lbs (69 kg)

Possible Issues

  • It’s pricey. Of all of the reformers listed in this top five, this one is the most expensive.
  • You might not like the style. If this isn’t your style, don’t worry! Balanced Body makes several other styles of reformer. Here’s a link to their website to see the other styles. (This reformer is listed as their “Studio Reformer” on this page.)
  • Always choose a vendor from your country. No matter where you live, selecting a vendor from your country is a great idea. If your item is scratched or ripped when it shows up, getting a replacement will be fast, easy, and less expensive.

Peak Pilates

Casa Reformer

Peak Pilates is also known for making professional Pilates equipment. Although their pieces aren’t quite as stylish as Balanced Body, they do have a good reputation. Currently, they offer an at-home reformer, the Casa Reformer.

For more information about Peak Pilates reformers, check out their website.

Features

Aluminum Frame

The powder coated aluminum frame ensures that your reformer will last for a very long time.

Four Position Footbar

The footbar lowers and lifts to four positions. Also, it’s wrapped in a deluxe wraparound cover.

Side Split Platform

This is a unique design of a relatively common feature. Many reformers have a side spilt platform that had some grip applied to help you stabilize your foot. Often, this is incorporated into the frame of the reformer right below the gear bar. In this model, though, they have a lifted oval-shaped piece.

Ability to Add a Jump Board

Although you may not use a jump board all that often, it is a great accessory to add to spice up your reformer workout. Once you decide that you love your reformer, I highly suggest that you invest in a jump board.

The Perks

  • 5 spring system: 1 red (heavy), 2 yellow (medium), and 2 blue (light)
  • 3 position headrest
  • Adjustable ropes and double loops
  • Retractable risers
  • Non-slip pad

Dimensions

  • Height: 16 inches
  • Length: 97 inches
  • Width: 25 inches
  • Reformer weight: 110 lbs

Possible Issues

  • The footbar doesn’t lower completely. Although it gets quite low, the footbar doesn’t completely lower so that it’s flush.
  • No workout DVD.  Although you expect that someone buying a reformer will be familiar with many of the exercises, it’s still a good idea to include a nice workout DVD.
  • Always choose a vendor from your country. No matter where you live, selecting a vendor from your country is a great idea. If your item is scratched or ripped when it shows up, getting a replacement will be fast, easy, and less expensive.

Stamina

AeroPilates Precision Series Reformer 608

Of all the reformer models listed, the AeroPilates Precision Series Reformer 608 is the least professional looking. On the other hand, because you don’t have all of the aluminum and wood that some of the other models have, you have a much less expensive piece of equipment.

Features

Silver Steel Frame with Oak Trim

With the silver steel and oak wood, this reformer looks very sleek and professional. Its solid construction should last for many years.

Cardio Rebounder

If you have never tried rebounding on the reformer, you’re missing out! As you jump, you really get your heart rate up. Plus, it’s a fun way to change up various reformer exercises. I love that this is included.

Padded Footbar

Foot pain can be debilitating. Even if you don’t feel like your feet are particularly sensitive, it’s nice that Stamina is offering a padded footbar.

Built-in Wheels

With wheels on your reformer, it means that you’ll be able to easily move your reformer anywhere you want. Bring it out for your workout, then scoot it into a corner when you’re not using it.

Free Online Videos

If you’re going to buy a reformer, you’re going to need to know how to use it. When you buy the AeroPilates 608, you’ll get the equipment and the classes all-in-one! (Bonus: My mentor, Shauna, is one of the instructors so I know you’re going to get top-notch classes.)

Perks

  • 4 heavy-duty springs
  • 3 position adjustable headrest along with oversized high-density foam shoulder pads
  • Adjustable ropes, straps, and hand grips
  • Adjustable pulley risers
  • Built-in wheels

Dimensions

  • Length: 85.75 inches
  • Width: 23.75 inches
  • Height: 20.5 inches

Possible Issues

  • Height issues. If you want to rebound, you can plan on needing several inches as you jump. Anyone 5’10” or above shouldn’t plan on doing any rebounding on this machine.
  • No box. Short and long box work is a component of all levels of reformer work. I find it a little surprising that they choose to include a rebounder instead of a box.
  • Always choose a vendor from your country. No matter where you live, selecting a vendor from your country is a great idea. If your item is scratched or ripped when it shows up, getting a replacement will be fast, easy, and less expensive.

STOTT PILATES

MERRITHEW At Home SPX Reformer Bundle

With the MERRITHEW At Home SPX Reformer Bundle, you’ll have everything you’ll need for a complete reformer workout. Of all of the reformers, this one comes with the most goodies. In fact, the only thing that you might want to buy later is a jump board.

Features

Four Position Footbar

Although you may not use the middle two positions as often as you use the #1 and #4 positions, you will still need them.

6 Carriage Stops

This is a big deal for me. When a person gets onto the reformer with the carriage at the first stopper position, it can be a little uncomfortable (especially if the person is tall or has tight hips). Carriage stops adjust the carriage of the reformer and help move it further away from the footbar. This makes working on the reformer much more comfortable.

The Perks

Of all the reformers, this one comes with the most additional equipment. With all of this gear, the only thing that you might want to buy in the future is a jump board or cardio rebounder (a Pilates trampoline). Here’s a list of what’s included:

  • Foam padded carriage
  • Adjustable ropes & risers
  • 5 springs: 3 full-tension, 1 half-tension, and 1 quarter-tension
  • 3 position headrest
  • Double loops
  • Padded platform extender
  • Reformer box and foot strap
  • Metal roll-up pole
  • 2 workout DVDs

Dimensions

  • Reformer dimensions: width: 26 inches (66 cm), length: 96.5 inches (2.5 m), height: 10 inches (25.4 cm)
  • Carriage dimensions: 22 x 38.5 inches (W x L) 
  • Weight capacity: 250 lbs
  • Reformer weight: 115 lbs (52 kg)

Possible Issues

  • Parts might be missing or bent. Any time you order an item that requires some amount of assembly, you run the risk of having some of the pieces missing or broken. Always check your pieces before you start assembling your reformer (just in case).
  • Delivery. This reformer arrives in a 14 foot box, so delivery can be awkward.
  • Always choose a vendor from your country. No matter where you live, selecting a vendor from your country is a great idea. If your item is scratched or ripped when it shows up, getting a replacement will be fast, easy, and less expensive.

My Recommendation for Best Pilates Reformer

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m biased toward STOTT products. I’m STOTT PILATES certified, so I learned on all of their products. Plus, they give certified instructors a discount, so I purchased all of their equipment for my own studio.

Still, I feel like even if I didn’t have that personal bias, I still think the MERRITHEW At Home SPX Reformer Bundle is the best pilates reformer. I love being able to buy everything that I need all at once.

However, that’s just my opinion. What’s most important is your opinion. If you’re thinking of purchasing a reformer for your home, carefully examine what each one has to offer, cost, and possible shipping charges to help you decide which reformer is the best Pilates reformer for you.

What do you think the best Pilates reformer is? Let us know in the comments below. 

>>>If you’re shopping for home Pilates equipment, check out this post on choosing the best Pilates Arc barrel.<<<

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About Sarah Stockett

Hi, I'm Sarah! I'm a certified Pilates and yoga instructor with a passion for pain relief. I believe you can use simple exercises to relieve your aches + pains. AND, I believe I can teach you how.