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Which Pilates reformer machines are best?

Pilates is one of the top workout regimens, with millions of people attending classes and studios on a regular basis to boost their flexibility, balance and core strength. Buying a Pilates reformer machine for your home is a wonderful way to enhance and improve your workout or practice rehabilitation or physical therapy after an injury. The Stott Pilates Merrithew At-Home SPX Reformer Bundle is a stellar Pilates reformer machine.

What to know before you buy a Pilates reformer machine

The basics of Pilates

Pilates refers to a workout with low-impact exercises that target the core muscles of your lower back, hips and abdomen. These Pilates exercises are meant to boost your balance, strength, coordination and flexibility. There are plenty of advantages to performing this kind of workout for your everyday life, including improving your body alignment and posture and relieving joint and back pain.

Understand what a Pilates reformer machine is

A Pilates reformer machine is a versatile and popular piece of workout equipment that allows  you to work against your own body weight. You can perform some unique exercises on a reformer machine, while you’re upside down, lying down, sitting or standing.

Pilates classes

You should take a handful of Pilates classes before you actually purchase a Pilates reformer machine to learn the principles of Pilates and how to hone in on your exercise and fitness goals. These Pilates workouts are extremely specific, so you need to have a trained practitioner guide you before you buy your machine.

What to look for in a quality Pilates reformer machine


The frame of the reformer machine is similar to a bed, with a carriage that rolls back and forth within the frame on wheels, similar to a rowing machine. The frame is pulled or pushed with an adjustable footbar at one end of the reformer machine. 


Reformer machines come with straps that are attached to the top of the frame. You can pull these straps with your arms or legs to move the carriage. The straps are also adjustable, so you can customize them to accommodate your physical limitations, fitness level and size.


You can adjust the springs on the Pilates reformer machine to make the carriage harder to pull or push as you gain more strength.

How much you can expect to spend on a Pilates reformer machine

Pilates reformer machines typically range in price from about $300-$8,000. The most inexpensive machines cost about $300, while midrange models go for about $1,000 and the most high-end machines vary in price from about $5,000-$8,000.

Pilates reformer machine FAQ

Will you lose weight from using a Pilates reformer machine?

A. You might not lose any weight just from using the reformer machine, but your body shape will likely change to a leaner physique because of the nature of the Pilates workouts. 

That being said, you are definitely burning calories during your Pilates workout, so you can use a reformer machine as a portion of your weight-loss routine along with other fat-burning workouts and dietary changes.

How many calories will you burn on a reformer machine?

A. It’s difficult to pinpoint the number of calories you burn on a reformer machine, since calorie burn is based on your body type and the Pilates workouts are varied. That being said, you will probably burn about 240-480 calories in an hour on a reformer machine.

Can you use a Pilates reformer machine after having surgery or following an injury?

A. Yes, you can use a reformer machine after having surgery or following an injury, under the supervision of a certified Pilates reformer instructor and with the advice of your health care professional. These reformer machines were originally meant for rehabilitation, and they’re ideal for accommodating physical limitations and for non-weight-bearing workouts.

You should consult with your Pilates coach, since there are specific Pilates workouts that you can use for your specific situation. If you use the reformer machine properly, you will likely have an improved outcome over simply remaining sedentary during your recovery.

What’s the best Pilates reformer machine to buy?

Top Pilates reformer machine

Stott Pilates Merrithew At-Home SPX Reformer Bundle

Stott Pilates Merrithew At-Home SPX Reformer Bundle

What you need to know: This machine is a comprehensive and well-made machine with four springs and multiple fitness accessories.

What you’ll love: It comes with two workout DVDs, a metal exercise pole and a reformer box. The reformer machine is subtle, stylish and perfect for building your core muscles and boosting your flexibility.

What you should consider: There is not much padding on the handles or bench of this reformer machine.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top Pilates reformer machine for the money

AeroPilates by Stamina Five-Cord Reformer

AeroPilates by Stamina Five-Cord Reformer

What you need to know: This efficient and comfortable machine stores easily and is very mobile.

What you’ll love: It is highly mobile, foldable for simple storage and versatile for core, lower-body and upper-body workouts. The machine also comes with traction pads for when it’s stationary and base wheels for transport.

What you should consider: The length of the machine from the handles to the foot bar might be a little too long for shorter users.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Stamina AeroPilates Precision Series Reformer 608

Stamina AeroPilates Precision Series Reformer 608

What you need to know: This machine supports a number of different exercise combos for more versatile and elaborate Pilates workouts.

What you’ll love: It balances new-age and traditional exercises, and it’s simple to adjust the base platform, leg bar and padded handles. There are also workout videos available across all of your devices, including computers, tablets and phones.

What you should consider: The lowest resistance setting might be too difficult for some people.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Alex Kilpatrick writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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