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Perfect Pilates Reformer

How to Choose the Perfect Pilates Reformer for Your Home Studio

You’ve learned about all the benefits of reformer pilates and after much thought, you’ve finally decided to purchase a pilates reformer for your home studio. Marvelous!

You fire up your browser and search for “best pilates reformers.” 

And what do you get? Thousands of options—different brands, types, and possible combinations.

Where do you even begin? After all, you’re going to be using this wonderful piece of equipment for quite a while, so you’d better get it right on the first buy.

There are several things to consider when picking out a pilates reformer for your home studio. To help you, we’ll explain:

  • How to evaluate your needs and set a realistic budget
  • How to find out how much space you need for your reformer
  • What features are necessary and which ones are nice-to-have

Consider: Pilates reformers are expensive but think of it this way: Say, you get a $4,000 reformer for your home studio and use it twice a week for 10 years. In that case, each workout costs you about $3.85, far less than a private trainer at their studio would.

Step 1 - Evaluate Your Needs and Set a Budget

The first step to picking the right reformer is to evaluate your needs and determine what you can afford.

First, consider your body. Just as humans come in all shapes and sizes, so do reformers.

The carriage on your reformer must be: 

  • Able to accommodate your entire torso while lying on your back
  • Wide enough to let you rest your arms at your sides while working out
  • Long enough to prevent your fingers from hanging off the edge when you lie on it

Measure yourself from the top of your head to just below your glutes, and the length of your arms from your shoulder to the tip of your middle finger. Use these measurements to choose a reformer with the right carriage size.

You might also want to look for a machine with an adjustable footbar and gear bar if you’re over 5’9” or under 5’4” in height. This will allow you to perform reformer exercises such as footwork.

Also, take note of any bony bumps that you might have, especially on your knees, hips, the back of your head, shoulder tips, and sitz bones, as these might cause discomfort when you rest on a firm surface.

If you feel any discomfort or pain when you rest any part of your body on a firm surface, then look for a reformer with more padding on the shoulder blocks, carriage, and even on the footbar. This way, your workout will be completely painless and you can focus more on your form.

Additionally, consider any injuries or limitations you might have. For example, if you have pain or a limited range of motion in your knees, a reformer that sits higher up off the floor will allow you to access the machine more easily.

man works out on reformer with instructor

Finally, you must decide how much you’re willing to spend on a reformer. With prices ranging widely from $400 to $8,000, you can generally expect to get what you pay for. In other words, a higher price often translates to higher quality.

Step 2 - Understand Your Space

The next step before pulling the trigger on a reformer purchase is to figure out how much space you’ll need. 

On average, pilates reformers are 7–8 feet long x 2–2.5 feet wide. Your intended space needs to be larger than this. You want enough room to be able to walk around the machine comfortably. 

Plus, when you lie on the machine, you need enough space on both sides to be able to reach your arms out to your sides as wide as possible without hitting any obstacles. The same applies to your legs.

So optimally, you’ll need a space that’s at least 11–12 feet long x 6–7 feet wide

However, it’s okay if your space has smaller dimensions. You’ll just have to modify your exercises to fit into the available space. A qualified and experienced instructor can help you with this.

You might even be able to get away with placing the reformer diagonally in the space, and this doesn’t even have to be permanent. You can move it back against the wall when it’s not in use.

get your very own pilates reformer

Step 3 - Determine What Features You Need

Finally, you must now determine the features you need from your reformer. 

In the table below, we explore some of the many features that are available for reformers and show you the necessary ones and those that are nice to have but you can do without.

Feature Must-Have Or Nice-To-Have? Description

The box


This is used for traditional pilates exercises such as backstroke, pulling straps, side overs, and tree

It can also be used as an accessory on the mat or with other pilates equipment

Handles and loops or double loops


These are required for all arm exercises and most leg exercises

Double loops have two separate loops, the short loops (for the hands) and the long loops (for the feet)

Foot straps


This is used to secure the feet during short box exercises

It hangs under the gear bar



This accessory allows for jumping exercises—in such cases, it replaces the footbar

There are quite a few options here, too, including wide, tall, cushioned, and trampoline-style jumpboards



This singular accessory can dramatically increase the versatility of your reformer when they are combined to form a reformer-tower unit

It’s also known as a half-trapeze



This accessory is useful for anyone who can’t lay on their back for any reason (for example, due to vertigo or pregnancy)

By placing it on the reformer’s carriage, you can work out with your back inclined instead of flat

pregnant woman working out on a reformer

Another decision you’ll have to make is what material you’d like your reformer frame to be made from. 

On the one hand, there are reformers with frames made of beautiful, durable wood. On the other, you have high-quality, practically indestructible metal reformer frames, which are often easier to move around.

Which to pick? There are hardly any advantages of one over the other, so it all comes down to aesthetics. That said, there have been some complaints about metal frames being noisier and more problematic in humid environments, so watch out for these issues. 

Finally, look for a warranty on your reformer. You’re likely going to spend thousands on this. It would be quite disappointing to spend so much, only to have it break within a few months. Better to be protected by a warranty.

Generally, most brands offer a 6–12-month warranty. But it’s different across brands and even between a brand’s different equipment—a single brand may have several reformers available, each with a different warranty. Check the company’s website or contact them to make an inquiry.

Get Your Very Own Pilates Reformer and Start Your Home Pilates Studio

So, there you have it: Three simple steps for choosing the perfect pilates reformer for your home studio.

At the end of the day, only buy from a reputable supplier. Vaissal Pilates offers an excellent selection of high-quality reformers for all use cases and needs.

We have everything you need to build your home pilates studio, as well as all kinds of accessories, with discounts for bulk orders.

For inquiries or to get a quote, get in touch.

“I have been using my new reformer for about a week now. I love it! The price was good and the machine is excellent.”
— Brian Pohl

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