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, like 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 particular styles dominate the market. The most common and original design is the Wunda chair. It was the first-ever design credited to Joseph Pilates. 

The Wunda chair is box-shaped and uses a spring system as a form of resistance to work out a user’s legs, back, core and arms. It’s a truly versatile and compact design that allows for a multitude of exercises that can be done sitting, standing or lying down. 

The second chair you’ll come across is the high chair. This design is the most similar to a traditional chair because of the 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 equipment addition. The compact design takes up minimal space, and some products feature a foldable design that allows for easy storage.

Exercise goal

It’s important to determine your workout goals in advance so you can choose the best Pilate’s chair that meets your needs. For example, those looking to strengthen their arms will benefit from chairs with handles. On the other hand, if flexibility and stability training is the goal, then handles may actually get in the way and become cumbersome. If you have multiple goals, 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 Pilate’s chair can keep up. While four or five resistance levels aren’t necessary, having at least two resistance levels is beneficial. 

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


Depending on the design, most Pilates chairs have padding around the seat, pedal 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. Additionally, 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 Pilates chair type, brand and features, expect to spend $120-$1,600 on a quality chair. 

Best Pilates chair FAQ

Are Pilates chairs beginner-friendly?

A. The great thing about Pilates chairs is that they’re accessible for everyone. Beginners feel more comfortable using the chair because the 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 seniors?

A. The Pilates chair and the exercise as a whole is an excellent low-impact workout for seniors and all other age groups. For seniors, 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: The Pilates PRO Chair Max is suitable for all levels looking for whole-body workouts. 

What you’ll love: This chair comes with two easily adjustable spring system resistance levels, so it is suitable for users at any stage. It features a split-pedal design that allows users to maximize their exercises and take their workouts to the next level. In addition to Pilates, this chair is 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

ProForm Pilates Studio Chair with DVD

ProForm Pilates Studio Chair With DVD

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

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

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

Where to buy: Sold by Kohl’s

Worth checking out

AeroPilates Precision Pilates Chair

AeroPilates Precision Pilates Chair

What you need to know: The AeroPilates chair is perfect for those looking to target multiple muscle groups and work 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. Additionally, the pedal system is designed to work as a dual split or single-pedal to accommodate most Pilates exercises. 

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

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods


Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

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

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.