Top 5 Best Foldable Pilates Reformer Machines For Home Use
FOR THOSE who are just starting out with Pilates, hold off on the impulse to invest in a Pilates reformer machine to use at home. They’re not exactly beginner-friendly and can be a tad tricky to get the hang of while keeping your form in check. Plus, they’re pretty darn massive and the best Pilates reformers can put a serious dent in your wallet.
But, here’s the deal, if you’re a regular at in-person Pilates classes and you’re looking to level up your game, having a Pilates reformer machine at home is seriously cool. You can work out on your schedule, follow online instructors for free on YouTube or membership-based platforms like SPEIR Pilates, and even have virtual 1:1 sessions with a private instructor. I’ve been practicing Pilates and testing the best reformer machines extensively in my own home and in studios for more than six years now. It’s a setup that has worked incredibly well for me for low-impact strength work on days I don’t feel like touching a weight.
The potential benefits of incorporating Pilates into your typical training routine shouldn’t be underestimated. “Reformer Pilates workouts involve a component of training muscular endurance that we may not necessarily focus on in our gym workouts,” explains physical therapist Winnie Yu, PT, DPT, C.S.C.S., of Bespoke Treatments, New York. “With proper guidance, consistent Pilates training can also help you develop the neuromuscular control of your trunk and limbs in less traditional planes of motion.”
AeroPilates is a well-respected brand within the Pilates community, and they make several different foldable reformer machines for home use that will make you wonder why you ever went into the studio. This 4420 model provides a very affordable all-in-one home Pilates workout package, and with a 4.4 average star rating on Amazon it seems to be the real deal. This folding Pilates reformer comes with two regular black resistance cords, one yellow cord for light resistance, and one red cord for extra-heavy resistance. You can switch them out or stack them together for a super heavy workout.
It has an extra-large cardio rebounder that allows you to better target your lower body and core without feeling like you are running out of space. The pulley system is supposed to be super smooth and easy to adjust, making it easy and enjoyable to work out on and switch between movements and exercises. The hand and foot straps are furry and soft, providing comfort where other machines don’t. To add even further to the comfortability of the 4420 are the high-density foam shoulder pads, adjustable cushioned head and neck rest, and textured standing platform.
The frame is of course foldable to help save space, and it even comes with wheels, so you don’t have to lift it up or drag it. In case you don’t already have your home Pilates course picked out, it comes with four workout DVDs that will walk you through how to use the equipment, the basics of Pilates, cardio routines, muscle-building routines, HIIT workouts, and more.
The 287 model is an even more affordable foldable Pilates reformer from AeroPilates, designed for beginners. When you fold it up for storage, it goes from being 85.25″ long to 42.5″ long, and from 9″ high to 6.5″ high, making it possible to store it in a closet and even under certain beds. One of the biggest differences between the 287 and the 4420 are the elastic bungee cords – this 287 model comes with 3 cords, and they do not differ in resistance strength like on the 4420. However, these 3 cords should be more than enough when it comes to allowing you to customize your workouts.
Another big difference is some of the comfort factors. The 287 does not have soft, furry hand and foot straps like the 4420 does, and the head and neck rest do not have padding as soft either. For lots of people, these little luxuries are not worth the bigger price tag, so depending on how you look at it this could be a plus for you. Instead of 4 DVDs, the 287 only comes with 3, but you still have access to all the material you need to learn how to use the equipment properly and more – DVD 1: An Intro to AeroPilates, DVD 2: Full Body AeroPilates Workouts, and DVD 3: Pure Pilates Level 1. It still comes with a nice big, cushioned platform and the same high-quality frame materials.
Faittd is a specialized Pilates brand that for 20 years has been making all sorts of reformers and accessories for reformer machines. Their products are VERY highly rated and are still affordable. This model is made of alloy steel, so it’s very durable yet light enough to move by yourself. When it is not folded up, the frame is about 98″, and it goes all the way down to about 53″ when it’s folded to store away.
The pads and shoulder rests on the machine are ergonomically designed and extremely comfortable. The foot bars lock into place easily, and there are 5 different positions for the spring bars. One cool feature about this machine is the 12-month warranty, which even covers light commercial use, and it will be repaired under lifetime guidance. Most Pilates studios have very elaborate expensive reformers, but this one is advanced enough where it is used for commercial purposes from time to time.
Not only does the Faittd reformer have an extremely smooth motion and high-quality parts, but it also comes with extra accessories that a lot of reformer machines don’t. This product comes with the reformer box – which allows you to do a myriad of additional positions and exercises, and a padded jump board – which you can use to do lots more exercises and especially incorporate more HIIT training.
With not many ratings, we understand why you might be hesitant to pull the trigger on this product, but after a deeper review, we think you will agree that it’s a very viable and good option. The design is a bit different than most Pilates reformers for home, with a much lighter and more modern-looking look. There are other benefits and cool features with this machine as well.
The rebound feel and motion of reformer machines is crucial to a good Pilates workout, and Sean Lee uses imported alloy springs that are supposed to have not only a faster rebound than other types, but are also noiseless and have a longer lifetime. 4 springs are adjustable and have a max resistance level of 84lbs. The material used on the surface of the pads and boards is made from high-quality UP leather, and it is anti-scratch and very comfortable.
When this machine is folded up, it only covers a 1.6 square feet area, and it even comes with rollers so you can simply move it under a bed or into a closet with some extra space. When it is not folded, it is 83.5″ long, 25.5″ tall, and 24″ wide. The white color of the machine gives it a unique modern look, and it would look great in any home gym or extra bedroom when not folded up and stored away.
5. JOYRIDER Folding Pilates Reformer Machine
The price tag for this folding reformer from JOYRIDER is a mile or two above the rest of the options on our list, but it’s worth checking out for a few reasons. This is a commercial-grade foldable reformer that is made with very high-quality materials and engineering. The action and motion on this machine are practically the same thing you will experience in high-end Pilates studios. It also comes in several different color options, which will make it much more design-friendly in case you don’t feel like folding it up and putting it away. It comes in a cool pastel palette of pink and grey, pink, and black, pink and white, white, white and black, and white and grey.
To provide some examples of why this machine demands such a high price tag, we will start with the fact it has 8 vertical and horizontal PU wheels, which help keep noise down and provide smooth gliding motion. It has 3 rows of resistance positions and 6 springs that can be adjusted to lots of different resistance level combos. The seat cushion is made from a super fiber PU leather which is very plush while fairly damage resistant. This reformer weighs about 174lbs, and that’s because it has all the bells and whistles that a lot of true commercial Pilates reformers have, but it does have wheels that make it easy to move and roll around. There is that old saying “you get what you pay for,” and with the JOYRIDER reformer you are surely getting a very high-quality piece of equipment.
Can Pilates Be Done Properly at Home?
At first, going to a Pilates studio seems more appealing than doing Pilates at home; they have all the reformer machines and other professional equipment. It might also seem daunting when thinking about the cost of reformer machines and the space they take up; however, that’s not the case.
In reality, you don’t need a reformer at all to perform the exercises properly. Using various household items or other types of cheap fitness equipment (i.e., resistance bands, slider discs, and even folded towels/gym mats) can be used to replicate the mechanics of a commercial-grade reformer foldable machine if used correctly.
If you still prefer using reformer machines, however, but don’t want to go to a studio, there are quite a few high-quality ones you may be able to afford for your home. Keep in mind that these cheaper alternatives may not be as helpful as professional Pilates reformers, but they’re a good alternative that can and will, help you achieve your fitness goals.
Doing Pilates at Home Without a Reformer Machine
While you may be limited in some areas, it is possible to do Pilates at home and without a foldable reformer Pilates machine. The pulling mechanisms that typical Pilates machines have can be replicated with resistance bands attached to a wall or other objects. Some specific Pilates moves, such as the Elephant Stretch and T-press, don’t require any equipment at all!
If you like a little more structure and guidance, and you want to follow a program, there are several options you can follow for Pilates without a machine: PILATESBODY by Kayla, Pilates Anytime, Pilatesology, Speir Pilates, and Alo Moves, to name a few.
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