So you are on the market for a new recovery tool, and yep there are just too many foam rollers to choose from! Well you came to the right place. Maybe you just started working out and want to enhance your recovery or your back has been killing you, either way I am going to help you find what you need. One of the single most popular recovery tools on the market is the foam roller. Foam rollers are great especially after a long workout or a long day at work it feels amazing to roll your back across a foam roller! People use foam rollers across their entire body to help relieve sore muscles. Some of the most popular areas to use a foam roller is the back, legs, calves, shoulders, and arms.
Foam rollers were invented back in the 1980s by a physical therapist. He began to use them as a self massage tool. However, foam rollers really became popular over the past few decades. This is mainly due to foam rollers being linked to fascia training or self myofascial release. Since then, tons of different kinds of foam rollers have been invented. Such as rubber foam rollers, electric foam rollers, vibrating foam rollers, rubber balls, heated foam rollers, yoga wheels, the list goes on! This can get confusing when you are new to foam rollers. Also, when buying online you don’t get to feel or test it out for yourself. This article will discuss the different types of foam rollers and why it is important to use them. This buyer’s guide will include the top foam rollers on the market today. These foam rollers were selected based on quality, price, and effectiveness.
Why You Should Foam Roll
Foam rolling is one of the best ways to self mobilize. Meaning, you can do work on your own body without someone else. The majority of us are hunched over all day using our laptop and phone with poor posture. A foam roller is one of the best ways to reverse the negative effects of poor posture. Lots of people who know I am a Doctor of Physical Therapy often ask me, why their back cracks when they breathe in. I often tell them this is usually due to postural issues/muscular tension, and can often be fixed with a foam roller. So, yes foam rollers are important for nearly everyone! Especially for those who lift weights or run. Foam rollers can be an instrumental tool in your recovery.
Foam rolling can be done prior to running or lifting weights as a warm-up for your muscles or after a workout. Some people claim foam rolling before exercise can prevent injuries, and helps them get more out of their workout. Whereas, others swear by using foam rolling after a workout to recover their muscles. Foam rolling can improve flexibility and mobility of yours muscles by releasing fascial adhesions. Essential you are rolling away any build up inflammation of scar tissue underneath your skin. This will help increase your range of motion and improve your muscle’s recovery time.
Types of Foam Rollers
There are many different types of foam rollers, and some hold different purposes than others. Foam rollers come in different shapes, sizes, and materials. Self myofascial tools can be cylinder shaped, round, halo wheel, and even a rolling a stick. The most standard is a foam cylinder roller that is 36″ in length. Most foam rollers come in options of 12″, 18″, 24″, and 36″. For larger body parts such as your back and upper thighs I recommend 24″ or 36″. However, for smaller body parts such as your arms or calves it is nice to use a 12″ or 18″ roller.
Standard Foam Roller
The standard foam roller is ideal for anyone new to foam rolling. The standard foam roller is the cheapest option because it is the most basic type. The foam option typically comes in sizes of 12″, 18″, 24″, and 36″. Also, the foam option can vary in firmness or thickness. I recommend a fairly firm foam roller, because that will serve best for muscle knots and spinal mobilization.
GRID Foam Roller
GRID foam roller is another common type of foam roller. This option is a little more expensive due to the higher quality and material used. The patented design uses a multi density exterior built over a rigid hollow core. This means that it won’t break down or lose shape from repeated use. The GRID foam roller is very firm due to the rigid core, and is covered with a foam grid that helps massage muscles deeper than a traditional foam roller. I recommend this foam roller for anyone who is serious about relieving muscular tension or mobilizing their spine, as the texture of this roller helps relieve this tension. This would be a great gift for anyone who runs or lift weights!
Vibrating Foam Roller
The vibrating foam roller is one of the most expensive options, but it comes with the added feature of vibration. These foam rollers are very high quality and are the next-generation of foam rollers! Most of the vibrating foam rollers feature 3-5 different intensity settings of vibration which helps relax and repair muscles. Some are capable of reaching 3600RPM which will help relax muscles while you foam roll at the same time. The vibrating foam rollers come with a rechargeable batter and can last for several hours on one charge. I recommend this type of foam roller for someone who is experienced with foam rolling, and wants to enjoy the added vibrating feature.
Foam Massage Ball
The foam massage ball is similar to the standard foam roller in terms of material. However, it is a round ball rather than a cylinder shape. The foam massage ball comes in various sizes and firmness. The larger option is typically 5″ in diameter with a smaller option at 2.5″ in diameter. These foam massage balls can range from firm to extra firm, and are made out of a firm layered EVA Foam. I recommend the foam massage ball in addition to a foam roller. These are perfect for smaller to reach areas such as the calves, pecs, feet, piriformis, and arms. The foam massage balls are fairly inexpensive and are small enough to take with you anywhere.
Textured Foam Roller
The bumpy textured foam roller is another spin-off of the standard design. The textured muscle foam roller has specifically designed bumps that are firm and flexible. The surface contains bumps that dig deep in the muscle and fascia, and can help release trigger points and adhesions. I recommend a textured muscle foam roller for someone who has serious muscle knots or trigger points.
Half Round Foam Roller
Very similar to the standard foam roller, however it is cut in half! The half round foam roller is exactly what the name implies-half of the standard round foam roller. Like the standard foam roller the half round roller comes in sizes of 12″, 18″, 24″, and 36″ in length. I find half round foam roller good to lay on long ways and really open up the chest and stretch. Half round foam rollers are a great tool for stretching and rehabilitation. They can also be used to stand on for balance purposes. I recommend these for those who want to use the foam roller for stretching purposes or even as a balance beam. However, not very effective at “rolling” out muscle knots or adhesions.
Lastly, is the peanut massager. A peanut massager is another type of foam roller that hold a unique design and purpose. Essential the peanut massager is two lacrosse balls connected within a rubber casing. Some peanut massagers offer vibrating features like the one listed above. Since the peanut massager features two hard balls with a groove in the middle, it fits perfectly on both sides of the spine. So you can easily roll this peanut massage up/down your spinal column for relief and mobilization. I recommend a peanut massager in addition to a standard type foam roller, because a peanut massager can pinpoint and target areas along the spine that a standard foam roller cannot.
The Top 10 Best Foam Rollers
The Muscle Master’s Choice: LuxFit Foam Roller: Score 10/10
– Great Colored Speckled Design
– Multiple Sizes to choose from
– No features such as rubber casing or vibration
For my #1 choice I have to go with the standard foam roller by Luxfit. Although, this foam roller doesn’t have any special features like rubber knobs or vibration, it still will get the job done for most people. The Luxfit foam roller is priced very reasonably, and comes in black with various color speckles. You can choose black with red speckles, blue speckles, or orange speckles. This foam roller is extra firm and molded with polypropylene foam technology with 2lbs per cubic foot density. Simply put, it is extra firm and will not lose its shape after heavy repetitive use!
This foam roller comes in 4 available sizes of 36inch, 24inch, 18inch, and 12inch. The 36inch will be perfect to stretch across your entire back and really help with back pain and sore muscles. I recommend this foam roller as a beginner foam roller or one that you don’t mind getting dirty or throwing around. Since it is fairly cheap and replaceable.
OPTP PRO-Roller: Score 9.5/10
– Professional Quality
– Won't Lose Shape
– Blue Design
– More expensive than traditional foam roller
– Only One Color
This foam roller is one of my personal favorites and one of the highest quality foam rollers on the market. The OPTP Pro-Roller is professional quality and designed to withstand heavy use. You will find this professional grade foam roller inside most gyms or in physical therapy clinic. That is how well they are designed.
The OPTP foam roller is constructed of closed-cell, heat-molded EVA foam. I really like the blue design and bright color that this foam roller has. It measures at 36-inches long with a 6-inch diameter. I recommend this foam roller if you want to invest in a high quality product that will last! This foam roller will last you a lifetime.
TriggerPoint GRID: Score 9.5/10
– Very High Quality
– Multi Density Cover With Firm Core
– Multiple Colors
– Only One Size of 13 inches
– Slightly More Expensive Than Standard Foam Roller
I really like the triggerpoint grid foam roller. This foam roller has a multi density exterior that is built around a rigid hollow core. So it is very firm and sturdy, even supports up to 500lbs! The multi density cover is designed to mirror a massage therapist’s hand. Along the rubber cover is high and firm bumps, tubular bumps, and low and flat bumps. These are designed to mimic the human hand (fingers & palm).
The Triggerpoint GRID is a little more expensive than the standard foam roller, but it is very high quality. This foam roller is 13 x 5.5 inches, and comes in black, lime, pink, orange, even camo! I recommend this foam roller for anyone who wants to take their recovery seriously or for serious muscle knots/back pain.
Yes4All High-Density Foam Roller: Best Value 9.5/10
– Very Affordable
– Multiple Sizes and Colors
– Well Constructed
– May Lose Shape Overtime
– Only Supports up to 300lbs
This foam roller is one of the most affordable foam rollers on the market, but still holds quality! Most of the very cheap foam rollers aren’t constructed very well, and eventually will lose their shape. However, Yes4All’s high-density foam roller is extra firm and made of expanded polopropylene.
Yes4All is a great starter foam roller and for those who just want to try it out for themselves! Most people have seen a foam roller before, but some have never used one. It would be wise to spend your money on a cheaper option first, before committing to a very high quality or professional grade foam roller. The Yes4All comes in multiple colors and sizes.
Hyperice Vyper 2.0: Score 9.5/10
– Extremely High Quality
– Superior Amplitude and Vibratory Features
– Professional Grade Material
– More expensive
– Reports of Battery Complications
The Hyperice Vyper 2.0 is the Rolls-Royce of all foam rollers. This foam roller comes with a high price tag, but the quality is superb. The hyperice is 2x more effective than a regular foam roller in terms of warming up and recovering. This is due to the vibrating features built in to this foam roller.
Hyperice Vyper 2.0 is one of the most power vibrating foam rollers on the market. It reaches and maintains a superior amplitude and G-force of 6.9, 7.8, and 8.8. This means even with a heavy individual on the foam roller- the vibration will still maintain its capabilities. Hyperice is a great company that makes several recovery tools such as the hypersphere and hypervolt.
Epitomie Fitness VIBRA: Score 9/10
– Powerful Vibration with 5 Settings
– Up to 3600RPM
– Sleek Black or Red Design
– Higher Price
– Requires Charging Between Uses
The Epitomie fitness VIBRA is another very high quality foam roller with vibratory features. This foam roller comes in a sleek black or red. The main benefit of Epitomie Fitness’s electric roller is that it can deliver intense vibrations capable of reaching 3600 RPM. This powerful battery operated foam roller will help relax tense muscles after just a few minutes of rolling.
Epitomie fitness VIBRA includes 4 vibration intensity setting and 1 pulsating setting. The battery is rechargeable, and can last over 4 hours on just one charge. Included comes a USB cable and carrying case.
RubberRoller: Score 9/10
– Textured Outside Contours Muscle
– Three Different Sizes
– Great for Deep Tissue Work
– Can be Painful
– Some say too Firm
The RubberRoller contains a specifically designed surface that includes very firm bumps. They are designed to continuously knead the contours of your muscles as you roll across the foam roller. This foam roller works very well as releasing trigger points and freeing up adhesions within the fascia.
RubberRoller comes in full size 31inches, mid-size 22inches, and compact 12inches. Also, there are two different firmness options (firm or extra firm). I recommend this foam roller for anyone who wants deep tissue work or needs to get rid of muscle knots. The firm points on the outside of this foam roller works wonders on tight muscles.
AmazonBasics High-Density: Score 9/10
– Wide Selection of Colors/Designs
– Made in the USA
– Not as High of Quality like some others
I had to include the foam roller by AmazonBasics. This foam roller is similar to the traditional standard foam roller, but included a wide variety of colors and designs. AmazonBasics high-density foam roller comes in 12inches, 18inches, 24inches, and 36inches of expanded polypropylene for extra firmness.
AmazonBasics is made in the USA, is lightweight, and comes with molded edges. I recommend this foam roller as a great foam roller for your house or workplace.
321 STRONG 5 in 1 Foam Roller Set: Score 9/10
– Great Package Deal
– 5 in 1 Kit Includes Everything You Need
– Multiple Colors to Choose
– May not need every item
I had to include this foam roller set because of the great deal. For the money, this set is one of the best valued deals on the market. 321 STRONG 5 in 1 set comes with a hollow core foam roller, a muscle rolling stick, peanut massager, spikey plantar fasciitis ball, and a stretching strap!
If you broke this kit down separately and bought each individual item you would be spending double the amount of money. It truly is an amazing deal. It even comes in a giftable box. This would be a great set to give someone as a gift- even a gift for yourself! I recommend this 5 in 1 kit for anyone who wants to take their recovery seriously. This kit offers everything you would possibly need to take care of your body.
LifePro 4-Speed Peanut Massager: Score 8.5/10
– 4 Powerful Settings
– Perfect for areas right along the Spine
– Lightweight and transportable
– Can Only be used on Certain Areas
– Requires Charging
LifePro offers a great 4-speed peanut massager. Essentially it is two lacrosse balls within a soft material and a rechargeable battery. LifePro peanut massager has 4 powerful settings (low, medium, high, and pulsed).
Personally, I like a peanut massager to run along my spine. Since this peanut massager has two balls inside with a groove in the middle, your spine fits perfectly in between the two lacrosse balls. It is perfect to run up/down your spine for a nice mobilization and tension reliever.
Foam rollers are hands down one of the best inventions made for self myofascial release. They are perfect to use anywhere and anytime of the day. I personally have several different kinds of foam rollers, and use them before working out for a warm-up and after working out for recovery. Every single person should own a foam roller. Not just those who workout. A foam roller can help stretch and mobilize the spine for better posture, and can relieve back pain for many individuals.
The list above is some of the top foam rollers on the market today, but each foam roller has their pros and cons. Make sure you consider multiple factors when purchasing your first foam roller such as effectiveness, the purpose you need it for, and price/value. For beginners I recommend starting with the standard traditional foam roller listed above to try it out first. For those who like the finer things in life, I recommend the Hyperice Vyper 2.0 for the Rolls-Royce of foam rollers. However, if you are needing a foam roller for serious muscular knots or adhesions make sure to get a foam roller with added rubber tips for a deep tissue massage. A lot of things can be considered when purchasing a foam roller, but you will see great results and relief with just about any foam roller.