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Which Pilates chair is best?

​​One of Pilates’ most attractive features is that it doesn’t require bulky machines like those used in weight-lifting or cardio. However, sometimes taking your workout to the next level requires a little help. In the world of Pilates, that typically means investing in the best Pilates chair, such as the Life’s A Beach Pilates Pro Chair Max With Sculpting Handles or a large intimidating reformer. 

What to know before you buy a Pilates chair

Type of chair

​​There are various Pilates chairs, but two styles dominate the market.

  • Wunda chair: This is the original and most common design, the first design credited to Joseph Pilates. It’s box-shaped and uses a spring system as a form of resistance to work out a user’s legs, back, core and arms. Its versatile, compact design allows for a multitude of exercises that can be done sitting, standing or lying down. 
  • High chair: This is more similar to a traditional chair because of its two sidebars and handles. It’s best for exercises to strengthen the lower body. 

Workout space

It’s difficult to deny the amount of space the best Pilates starter sets can save. However, resistance bands and a Pilates ring can only take your workout so far. Whether you’re working with limited space or you’d rather keep your exercise room clutter-free, a Pilates chair is a perfect addition. They take up minimal space, and some are foldable for easy storage.

Exercise goal

It’s important to determine your workout goals so you can choose the best Pilates chair for you. For example, those looking to strengthen their arms will benefit from chairs with handles. But if flexibility and stability training are your goals, handles may get in the way and become cumbersome. If you have multiple goals, though, many chairs are versatile and offer full-body workouts. 

What to look for in a quality Pilates chair

Resistance levels

As you advance in your strength training, it’s vital that the Pilates chair can keep up. While four or five resistance levels aren’t necessary, having at least two is helpful. 

Pilates is meant to have minimal impact on the joints, so the goal isn’t to achieve the highest resistance level. Most often, you’ll find that two levels are more than enough, at least for the time being. The vast majority of Pilates chairs use easily adjustable spring systems or bands with handles for their resistance feature. 


Depending on their design, most Pilates chairs have padding around the seat, pedals and handles. However, padding on high-quality chairs is less likely to rip, tear or feel brittle after a few weeks. The seat should also be large and wide enough to comfortably accommodate any exercises, including ones lying down. 


Because Pilates chairs allow for more exercises in a vertical position, the chair you select must be sturdy. That includes having nonslip or anti-skid endcaps. And to ensure safe use, you should be able to reach and use the pedals comfortably. 

How much you can expect to spend on a Pilates chair

Depending on the type, brand and features, expect to spend $120-$1,600 on a quality chair. 

Best Pilates chair FAQ

Are Pilates chairs beginner-friendly?

A. Pilates chairs are accessible to everyone. Beginners feel more comfortable using a chair because its smaller size and handles make it less daunting and easier to use than a reformer. They also make great tools for basic strength movements and stretches. Pilates chairs with handles are excellent for beginners to strengthen their arm and leg muscles as they advance in their Pilates journey.

Advanced users also use the chairs to practice acrobatic exercises. 

Are Pilates chairs safe for older people?

A. The Pilates chair and the exercise as a whole is an excellent low-impact workout for all age groups. For older people, in particular, it helps increase coordination, stability, flexibility and strength in the core and legs without severe impact on the joints. 

What’s the best Pilates chair to buy?

Top Pilates chair

Life's A Beach Pilates PRO Chair Max with Sculpting Handles

Life’s A Beach Pilates Pro Chair Max With Sculpting Handles

What you need to know: This chair is suitable for all levels looking for whole-body workouts. 

What you’ll love: It comes with two easily adjustable spring system resistance levels, so it’s suitable for users at any stage. It features a split-pedal design that lets users maximize their exercises. In addition to Pilates, it’s an excellent tool for yoga, resistance band and other workout styles. It also comes with several DVDs and an instructional poster to keep you motivated. 

What you should consider: Some people may require more than two resistance levels. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top Pilates chair for the money

Best ProForm Pilates Studio Chair

ProForm Pilates Studio Chair

What you need to know: This is the perfect Pilates chair for those looking to take their balance and stability to the next level. 

What you’ll love: This sturdy chair can fit any space. It has two resistances equipped with handles to challenge your stability, so you can work on more difficult acrobatic movements. It comes with a DVD of various exercises to follow along with. 

What you should consider: It’s limited to one pair of resistance bands. 

Where to buy: Sold by Kohl’s

Worth checking out

Best AeroPilates Reformer 651

AeroPilates Reformer 651

What you need to know: This is perfect for targeting multiple muscle groups and working on various goals simultaneously. 

What you’ll love: This incredibly versatile machine allows for multiple exercises that can be conducted while sitting, standing or lying down. The various positions enable you to target any muscle group in your core, upper and lower body. It has four heavy-duty elastic bungee cords for adjustable resistance.

What you should consider: It’s large and does not fold away. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Christopher Lee writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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