Pilates equipment and machines can add a lot of value to your home workouts, regardless of whether you have taken up Pilates recently or whether you are an advanced practitioner. While most people are aware of the small equipment options, such as resistance bands, magic circles, foam rollers and exercise balls, many people are not sure what the best Pilates machine for home use is.
You may think that larger pieces of equipment, such as Pilates reformers, Pilates barrels and Pilates chairs are only suitable for dedicated Pilates or fitness studios. However, there is quite a choice of Pilates machines available now so whatever your budget or home situation, there should be something suitable for you.
As a general rule, only buy equipment for home use that you are familiar with. For example, if you buy a reformer, you should have used one under the instruction of a qualified and experienced Pilates instructor before. This is to avoid injuries as a result of incorrect use and to make the best use of your machine.
So, what should you go for? Here is my pick of the best Pilates machines for home use.
Best Value for Money: AeroPilates Reformer 287
This entry level Pilates Reformer machine is the ideal solution if you are tight on budget but don’t want to miss out on Reformer exercises at home. Available at the lower price end, it is possibly the most affordable Pilates reformer equipment on the market, still offering many of the features of an advanced professional reformer model.
It is a very compact unit that doesn’t require a lot of space, so you can exercise almost anywhere in your home like your study or bedroom. And when not in use, it can be easily stored away.
With its simple design, featuring a cushioned glide board and three cords to adjust the resistance level, the Aero Pilates Reformer 287 is easy to use so you don’t need to waste time setting it up each time you want to work out.
Another bonus is the workout wall chart and the DVDs that are provided with the Pilates Machine containing a few workouts to get you started on the machine although you may want to add further workouts for more variation. The choice of possible exercises to stretch, strengthen and balance your body is almost endless.
The main disadvantage of the Aero Pilates Reformer 287 is that it doesn’t come with a cardio rebounder. If that’s something you definitely want to include in your workouts, you will have to buy one separately or go for a more advanced Reformer model and dig quite a big deeper into your pockets.
Most versatile: Total Gym XLS
Like the Flow Form Machine, the Total Gym XLS is a very compact unit that folds away to the size of a standard ironing board for easy storage. Also, it’s easy to use and comes fully assembled so you can start exercising right away.
Its main feature is its high versatility. Although it’s not a dedicated Pilates machine, you can perform all the stretching and strength building exercises that you can do on a standard Pilates reformer, plus many additional muscle and core strengthening exercises as well as cardio workouts. It has six height settings to change the incline of the unit and to adjust the resistance level to suit your ability.
There are a number of accessories included, such as a wing attachment and a leg pull accessory as well as 5 workout DVDs and an exercise chart, to name but a few. Another selling point is the fact that according to the manufacturer, Total Gym XLS is endorsed by Chuck Norris and Christie Brinkley.
The unit is available in the mid-price range. As it is of a robust design and can take a weight of up to 400 lb., you can expect it to last for years. So, you get your money’s worth. It’s a great choice if you want to use it not only for Pilates but for other strength and stamina building exercises as well.
The main disadvantage of this unit is that there are no Pilates retrofit kit options, such as a tower or trapeze table, available. So, if you want to be able to do the full range of Pilates reformer exercises, you will be better off purchasing a reformer with a Cadillac.
Best full-featured budget: AeroPilates Precision Series Reformer 610 with optional Cadillac
If you are an experienced and keen Pilates practitioner and like to perform the full range of Pilates reformer exercises, this premium reformer model is ideal for you. It comes with all the features of a professional studio version, including four springs to adjust resistance level, the patented cardio rebounder, a padded foot bar, hand and foot straps, foam shoulder pads and adjustable head rest.
Its standout feature is, however, the included Cadillac accessory providing maximum functionality for a full body workout. Also included, are 4 workout videos and 6 educational videos together with a wall chart and a comprehensive range of downloadable basic and Cadillac workout videos.
In fact, this is two machines in one with a simple conversion function as the Cadillac accessory easily attaches to the main frame – all at under $1600.00. In addition, there are built-in wheels making it easy to transport from one room to another, whilst non-skid supports protect the floor.
The main disadvantage of this reformer is its size. Unlike the Flow Form and the Total Gym models, it does not fold away and measuring 89″ x 20.5″ x 20″ – 35.75″ wide with the rebounder attached – plus 29.75″ x 3.25″ x 74.25″ for the Cadillac Tower, it requires more space for storage. So, this model is only suitable for you if space is no issue.
Conclusion: There is a Pilates machine for any requirement
The days when you could only work out on a reformer in a studio or needed a large home and matching budget to have your own reformer at home, are long gone. With all the compact versions available now, space is no longer a barrier.
Also, there is a Pilates machine for any budget starting at just over $200 for a new unit and up to over $7000 for a professional full-featured studio reformer.
When thinking of buying a Pilates machine for home use, make sure you know your exact requirements first, so you choose the model that’s perfect for you. Whatever model you go for, it will bring added value and much more fun to your workouts.