At Studio Pilates International, we don’t recommend one specific provider of Pilates equipment because there is a massive range of different reformers available and what is best for you comes down to your specific needs and budget. When choosing a reformer to purchase, you may wish to consider the following factors –
1. Will the reformer be staying in one place (like a piece of furniture) or do you need to move it in and out of the room?
Needs to Be Moved Regularly
Consider a lighter reformer (such as the ones made of metal). Some variations come on wheels or can collapse for storage. The movable reformers are usually cheaper than the fixed reformers, however they also tend to be a bit more flimsy and can have a much shorter life span. The lighter reformers can be a good option if you need to use a particular room for different types of classes (for example, to run matwork classes as well as reformer classes).
Staying in One Place
The best option would be to purchase a reformer which acts like a piece of furniture. These reformers can be made of metal, but most of the time are made in the traditional wooden style. These reformers tend to look more stylish and are usually more comfortable to lie on. They tend to be much heavier than collapsible reformers and you will need a minimum of two people to move them due to their weight.
2. Has the reformer been designed for personal home use or commercial use?
Keep in mind that some reformers are designed more for personal home use while others are designed for commercial use. The reformers designed for commercial use are likely to be more robust and be able to withstand a large number of clients using them on a regular basis. The reformers designed for personal use may not withstand repetitive long term wear from a large number of clients.
3. What type of clients will you be teaching?
Elderly or injured clients may find it difficult to get up and down off the floor, so consider avoiding a low reformer.
The traditional reformers (higher off the ground) are better for heavier clients as the metal reformers tend to be less stable and more wobbly.
Athletes and tall people tend to do better on the traditional, higher off the ground reformers because they are usually longer and have stronger spring resistance and are more suitable for advanced exercises.
Clients with neck pain do better on traditional reformers with adjustable pulley heights. This is because a reformer with the pulley height set down low tends to overwork the Upper Trapezius when the clients are performing arm exercises.
4. Does it have functional elements?
- Does the head rest incline? (this can be very useful for clients with neck pain)
- Is it lifted up off the floor? (reformers on the ground make it tricky to perform certain exercises like Scooter)
- Does it have a wide range of resistance options to challenge clients of different levels (ie. A range of light, medium and heavier springs)
- Does it have stoppers?
- Is the pulley height adjustable?
5. What is my budget?
Reformers can range in price from a few hundred dollars to $10,000. You often get what you pay for when it comes to reformers. You should also research any accessories which do not come with the reformer. Double check if the reformer comes with any of the following accessories or if they are additional items which you will need to purchase –
- Springs (or similar resistance)
- Head Cushions
It is also useful to research the cost of replacing components of the reformer, for example, what is the cost of replacing springs and how often does the manufacturer recommend replacing these parts?
So it is important to consider all of these factors when purchasing a reformer, but as mentioned earlier, there is no right or wrong!
If you are wanting to purchase a reformer second hand, you can also look at websites like Gumtree or Facebook marketplace. However if using a second hand reformer for instructing clients rather than personal use, it may be worth checking if the equipment’s warranty is still in place for your clients’ safety.
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