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My 10 Years of Pilates Classes: Discovering the Finest At-Home Reformers

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  • Post last modified:September 26, 2023

If you’re prepared to elevate your Pilates workout to the next level, these are the finest at-home reformers to invest in.

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When it comes to Pilates reformer classes, you have the potential to gain a great deal from attending a studio in place of practicing at home. To start, many instructors make it a point to clarify how to utilize the Pilates reformer, as well as how to execute each movement with the appropriate form (which typically isn’t simple). If you haven’t used one before, it can be an overwhelming piece of equipment upon first glance.

That being said, if you are a dedicated fan of the highest degree (after all, the advantages of Pilates speak for themselves) and would adore the ability to practice at home between classes or are contemplating joining virtual classes, there are worthwhile options to outfit your home gym with a Pilates reformer. (And we’ve even included a budget-friendly option!) 

Having participated in numerous classes, I now have a good understanding of how to use a reformer. While I don’t want to completely abandon in-person classes, being able to engage in one of my favorite workouts from home a few times a week or whenever I feel like it would be a dream. Reformer classes can also be quite costly, particularly now that it’s a highly sought-after item. At a certain point, your at-home Pilates reformer may end up paying for itself. 

Balanced Body Studio Reformer

Now that you understand the benefits of Pilates and what’s on the line when selecting your equipment, here are some of the top-notch at-home Pilates reformer choices.

Why We Appreciate It: It’s sleek, polished, customizable, professional-grade, and adored by users.

A Noteworthy Point: If you desire a springboard, you’ll need to upgrade.

The Balanced Body Studio Reformer is extremely similar to what you’ll probably encounter in a traditional Pilates reformer class. The manufacturer employs an exclusive exactitude carriage system, which is an elegant way of saying it offers an exceedingly smooth and noiseless experience. The machine is furnished with their distinctive Balanced Springs, constructed from nickel-plated carbon steel. Furthermore, it offers extensive customization: Apart from the appearance (a variety of upholstery colors are at your disposal), the footbar, wheels, and springbars can all be adjusted, with three distinct frame heights provided. 

Price at the time of publication: $4,400

Dimensions: Studio Reformer: 93” L x 26.5” W x 14” H; Carriage Pad (excluding headrest): 30.5” L x 23” W | Springs: 5 springs encompassing 46 resistances | Inclusive of: An adaptable shoulder rest, slip-resistant safety-rated ropes, customizable foot bar, adjustable spring bars, a cushioned Sitting Box, and access to their complimentary videos | Weight: 152 pounds.

Amazon AeroPilates Reformer 287

Why We Appreciate It: It’s reasonably priced and highly rated.

A Noteworthy Point: While it possesses all the capabilities of a traditional reformer, it is noticeably of lower quality than some of its pricier counterparts.

This is an excellent choice if you are a novice and/or aren’t inclined to invest a substantial sum on a workout apparatus. The at-home Pilates reformer arrives with three stretchable bungee cords, an adjustable headrest, foam handles, and three guided reformer DVD workouts (if you still possess a device capable of playing them).

It is also collapsible, making it a suitable option for individuals residing in a more compact area.

Price at the time of publication: $359

Size: 82.25” Length x 17.5” Width x 9” Height | Springs: 3 | Included: Steel frame, carriage upholstered in vinyl, ropes made of nylon, hand and foot straps made of foam, three Pilates reformer DVDs with expert guidance | Weight: 56 pounds

Frame Pilates Reformer

Why We Appreciate It: It resembles the Peloton of Pilates reformers for home use, as it comes with a screen and a subscription that provides guidance for various workouts.

It’s Important to Note: Like Peloton, the price does not include the monthly subscription fee.

This is the most modernized version of the reformer mentioned in this list. This is largely due to its inclusion of a 24-inch swivel touchscreen, allowing you to stream guided workouts and play your music. Additionally, it allows for the adjustment of springs at the touch of a button, eliminating the need for manual manipulation. Moreover, it is aesthetically pleasing.

“I had the opportunity to try the Frame Pilates Reformer under the expert guidance of their team, and I was impressed by the machine’s quality and the classes,” says Kristen Geil, Shape’s senior commerce editor. “Thanks to the clever buttons that allow for quick adjustments, I was able to change the resistance easily. I never found myself struggling to keep up with the instructor, as I often do in in-person classes!”

Price at the time of publication: $3,999

Size: 94” Length x 25.5” Width x 36” Height with the displayed screen | Springs: 6 | Included: 24” touchscreen monitor, components that are adjustable and equipped with wheels, foot bar, dual-spring technology | Additional features: With a $40/monthly subscription, you gain access to a collection of live and on-demand classes, as well as personalized training recommendations | Weight: Unlisted

Why We Prefer It: It’s small and portable, yet still has enough space for someone up to 6’8”.

Lagree Micro Reformer

It’s Important to Note: You will need to purchase additional accessories (such as rear and front handles) separately at an extra expense.

If you favor Lagree’s intense and effective classes over Pilates (the Lagree Fitness Method focuses on high-intensity bodybuilding techniques and low-impact movements, while Pilates is for rehabilitation), you can take advantage of the company’s Micro Reformer. This is a smaller and lighter option compared to the Megaformer utilized in Lagree studios, which incorporates springs. Enroll in a Lagree At Home subscription and you will have everything necessary to participate in the workout method approved by Rihanna.

Price at the Time of Posting: $990

Measurements: 71.1″ L x 18.5″ W x 5.5″ H | Springs: 4 | Included: The Micro base unit contains the front platform, rail with carriage, and springs. Additional add-ons are available at an extra cost. | Weight: 60 pounds

Why We Love It:

The Tower offers additional exercise options and is highly favored by consumers.

Important to Note:

Accessories are not included and need to be purchased separately.

A Pilates tower is a framework that allows for various configurations, enabling you to perform nearly all exercises that you can do on a full Cadillac (a larger table with a metal frame that can be fitted with attachments like straps, handles, and bars). If this appeals to you, you have the option to buy a tower as an attachment or choose a reformer that already includes one, such as the Balanced Body Allegro Tower of Power.

Amazon Balanced Body Allegro 2 Tower

Price at the time of publication:



9″ H (15″ with legs) x 94″ L x 25.5” W | Springs: 29 attachment points for springs | Included: Safety strap and carabiner, mat conversion, and a storage area for springs when not in use | Weight: 177.5 pounds

Why We Appreciate It:

It can be folded and is reasonably priced.

Important to Note:

It does not come with accessories (aside from free workout DVDs) and the straps are covered in fur. Whether this is a positive or negative feature depends on personal preference.

If you’re searching for an affordable and compact option and don’t mind compromising slightly on the quality of materials, this Pilates reformer for home use meets those criteria. It has received positive reviews, and if you’re open to furry hand and foot straps (a choice!), it provides all the fundamentals for a solid reformer workout.

Amazon AeroPilates Foldable Reformer 4420

Cost when originally released: $399

Measurements: 86” in length x 21” in width x 26” in height | Springs: 4 l Included: Free-form cardio rebounder, cushioned foot bar, fluffy hand and foot straps, cushioned headrest, adjustable pulley risers, four complimentary exercise DVDs | Mass: 68 pounds

Reasons We Like It: It arrives with all the necessities! (A reformer box, metal roll-up pole, and two exercise DVDs)

It’s Worth Mentioning: While this does come with numerous supplementary attachments not commonly found in other reformer choices, there are a few constraints: The shoulder rests cannot be detached and it does not come with a vertical frame.

You have the option of selecting a basic choice and purchasing the attachments (such as a jump board or additional springs) to customize your resistance separately. Alternatively, you can opt for a package such as this Pilates reformer with springs, which includes a box, pole, and two exercise DVDs. At a length of 96.5 inches, it is longer than many available choices, which you might appreciate if you are tall.

Amazon Merrithew at Home SPX Reformer Bundle

Cost when originally released: $2,346

Measurements: 10” in height x 26” in width x 96.5” in length | Springs: 4 full-tension and 1 half-tension | Included: Reformer box, cushioned platform extender, comfortable foot bar, metal roll-up pole, and two exercise DVDs | Mass: 115 pounds.

Why We Appreciate It: If aligning the visual appeal of your workout equipment with the interior design of your living space is important to you, this is a masterpiece 

It’s Important to Mention: The current waiting time for this product is 36 to 40 weeks, so if you are hoping to acquire your Pilates reformer for home use sooner rather than later, this option requires some patience

Numerous studios are equipped with Gratz reformers, which the brand asserts to be the original producer of Pilates apparatuses. And you can possess one for yourself. Each model is crafted from a robust Rock Maple wood that is sustainably cultivated and harvested, which is likely the reason why it is so durable & visually pleasing. It even includes a few accessories, such as an upholstered long/short box and a weighted pole.

Price at the Time of Publication: $4,590

Dimensions: Options available in lengths of 80″, 86″, and 89″ x 26″ Width x 13.74″ Height | Springs: 4 | Includes: Showcases natural leather straps, a cushioned foot bar, three gears, an upholstered long/short box, and a standard weighted pole | Weight: Not specified

Gratz Designer Reformer

How We Chose

We dedicated significant time to researching the currently available Pilates reformers for home use in the market, taking into consideration consumer evaluations, popularity, price, features, accessories, and design. We also consulted experts from leading Pilates studios to gain a comprehensive understanding of the exceptional qualities that the best reformers possess, the reason behind the high cost of Pilates reformers, and how to utilize a Pilates reformer safely and efficiently. Ultimately, we narrowed down the extensive selection of equipment to identify the best option in each category, ranging from overall performance to affordability and space-saving capabilities. 

What to Understand About Pilates Reformers: 

When in search of a Pilates reformer for home use, it is essential to have a foundational understanding. Specifically, what are the advantages? Why do some machines come with a significantly higher price tag? How do you even operate this apparatus? And what are all the accompanying accessories? We have all the answers for you.


Reformer Pilates is a remarkable low-impact exercise routine. It enables you to enhance your strength training, muscle endurance, and coordination — as well as aid in the treatment and prevention of conditions such as back pain. Additionally, it is an excellent workout for improving posture, increasing flexibility, and enhancing cardiovascular fitness. It offers a wide range of benefits.


Regarding the significant price tag—certain companies provide options that fall under $1,000 and, depending on your intentions, this might be sufficient.

Nevertheless, advocates have a tendency to embody a you-receive-what-you-shell-out-for scenario, whereby pricier models offer a handful of pivotal benefits.

For one, higher-quality reformers incorporate springs instead of bungee cords (essentially resistance tubes), which makes them more expensive to produce, says Ken Endelman, CEO of Balanced Body, which designs and produces Pilates equipment. “When you pull on a spring it’s a very smooth motion, whereas the bungee cord gets really hard really fast,” says Endelman. “All the Pilates exercises that people are doing on Pilates equipment are designed to be used on machines that have springs.” Springs are also the more durable option, he adds.

Another important distinction: A quality Pilates reformer will be designed with attention to detail, says Endelman. “The geometry of the reformer is important,” he says. “A lot of reformers on the market are really short; the foot bars are either too short or too low, or their hooks are too close behind you, too low, or too high.” It’s not just about having enough length to accommodate all bodies and heights, but the right proportions between the reformer’s various elements are key for performing Pilates exercises as intended and with proper form, he says.

How to Utilize Pilates Reformers

If you’re a beginner, a reformer machine can be a bit intimidating. And it’s not necessarily intuitive at first glance. Understanding the mechanics of the reformer and some basics for navigating it will have you gliding with confidence in no time.

Let’s talk mechanics: A reformer is composed of a flat, cushioned, moving carriage with shoulder blocks you can rest your head between for many exercises. There are a set of springs toward the bottom, which you can adjust to alter the resistance. And there are straps, which you can place both your hands and feet in, depending on the exercise, and when pulled, will move the carriage.

“Stepping onto either platform and stepping down to the floor is going to be the easiest way off, even if you feel like you’re losing your balance,” says Elizabeth Heidari, a NASM-certified personal trainer and certified Pilates instructor.

Remember: You don’t need to move too quickly, focus on your breathwork, and keep movements small. “My biggest tip when I talk to newbies is that a lot of the stuff that we’re asking you to do in our space is a lot smaller than you think,” says Heidari. “Pilates is the little muscles.”

Pilates Add-Ons

Many at-home Pilates reformers come with specific add-ons that are essential for a classic reformer workout. Those include hand and feet straps; handles, shoulder and head rests (sometimes adjustable!); and resistance springs.

There are other add-ons that are commonly used in certain reformer workouts but are more likely to be available at an additional cost, such as: Pilates balls or rings, an upholstered long/short box, a balancing bar, a springboard, and a tower. The tower (or trapeze) is a vertical apparatus with springs, bars, and loops for attachments.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is reformer Pilates different from mat Pilates?

    It is! Mat Pilates, as its name implies, necessitates solely a mat, although integrating certain accessories can enhance your workout experience.

    “Mat work serves as the foundation for the entire Pilates exercise system,” states Triana Brown, head of talent and product development at Solidcore. It imparts the fundamental skills—neutral spine, engaged core, breathwork—that can subsequently be applied to a reformer Pilates class.

    A reformer class involves a machine with a sliding platform, handlebars, straps, and resistance springs. “It represents a more contemporary form of Pilates,” notes Brown. “It still incorporates deliberate and controlled movements, but it also incorporates strategic programming that aligns more closely with strength training.”

    Read more about the distinctions between mat and reformer Pilates workouts on SHAPE.

    Can I utilize a foam roller as a substitute for an at-home Pilates reformer?

    You certainly can! A foam roller provides the gliding effect, but it offers a more limited version of the reformer workout. This is because, unlike a reformer machine, a foam roller lacks resistance springs. You will have to rely exclusively on your body weight as a means of resistance.

    That being said, it represents a more economical and accessible alternative to the reformer if you are willing to sacrifice some of the exercises achievable with resistance.

    This is likely why many TikTokers are employing foam rollers to perform Pilates at home without a reformer.

    What type of socks should I wear for Pilates?

    Grippy socks! These are stretchy socks with non-slip rubber paneling on the sole. There are several reasons why you would choose grip socks during a Pilates workout: preventing slippage, absorbing sweat, and providing a protective barrier between your feet and equipment if you are participating in a class at a shared studio. (Some classes mandate their use for health reasons!)

    There are instances where you could forgo grip socks: when you are not on a slippery surface (e.g., a non-slip mat at home or the beach) or when you are attending a private class and the instructor does not require them. (Just ensure that the equipment is properly sanitized between uses.)

    Why Trust Shape

    Shape contributor Melanie Ehrenkranz possesses more than ten years of journalistic experience encompassing consumer technology and health and wellness, having written for websites such as Gizmodo, Inverse, Mic, Medium, and Vice.

    Thanks for your feedback!

    She generated and composed the weekly wellness bulletin Loch Ness Monster Sightings

    for a little above two years

    for a total of 75,000-readers,

      sharing suggestions for commodities and amenities
      that enhance your life, promote well-being, or add significance in some manner.

    She initiated participating in reformer Pilates courses over a decade ago (prior to it becoming trendy!)

    to bolster her recovery from dancing,

    She currently relishes a few sessions per week at her nearby studio.