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Looking for some muscle relief? After researching more than 50 of the top foam rollers on the market, our fitness experts bought the top 12 for this review. We then spent over 60 hours rolling out various muscle groups in a series of rigorous side-by-side tests to find which rollers are the best for various purposes. Foam rolling is a hurts-so-good kind of healing modality, and the myriad of available options can be overwhelming. We assessed ergonomics, topography, foam density, and durability with a keen eye for detail and an obsession for anatomy. Read on to find the perfect foam roller for your needs and budget.
The TriggerPoint Grid is one of the most popular self-massage tools on the market. These rollers can be seen everywhere, from physical therapists' offices to the gym and in the homes of many athletes and weekend warriors. Its popularity was earned by it being a versatile and durable tool for self-care — characteristics we attribute to its unique design. It has a hollow core, made possible by .2" of hard plastic tube surrounded by a half-inch of multi-density EVA foam. This foam resists breaking down over time, and that, mixed with the rigid hollow core, makes this one of the most durable rollers we've had the pleasure of using. The topographical features of the TriggerPoint roller are modest but just right. The surface texture strikes a perfect middle ground between being super bumpy and completely smooth. Combined with the harder sections of foam and tight diameter of 5.35", these features allow you to pinpoint specific muscle groups. This stellar roller weighs in at 1.8 pounds, and at a length of just under 13", it travels pretty well. Our experience has shown that everyone, from beginners to the most experienced athletes, enjoys this roller.
We found that the relatively short length of the TriggerPoint made it slightly less versatile than others we tested. Those with broad shoulders may find it too narrow to roll out their backs. People looking for a firm roller also might find that the TriggerPoint isn't firm enough for their more intense foam rolling sessions. That said, the foam that coats the hollow roll isn't as firm as some, but it also isn't especially soft. We think it hits just right, but this, of course, is completely subjective based on what your body craves. Those criticisms aside, we feel this is the best roller for the widest variety of people and needs.
Of the vibrating foam rollers we tested, the Premvida Arrow was our favorite. With its intuitive and beefy three-position dial, controlling the three vibration levels is simple. This interface was the most user-friendly we saw in our lineup. The extra firm EVA foam exterior features dual massage zones to tailor your experience further. The vibrations, combined with the moderate 6" diameter, help to further release tight and stubborn muscle groups. The battery lasted us two hours and 44 minutes on full power during our testing. The charging port is tucked under a removable cover, protecting it from becoming contaminated by sweat, dust, or the dog hair that might reside on your floor. Premvida provides a one-year warranty for registered products, which is a great bonus.
There were a couple of things that we didn't like about the Arrow. First, we found it a little undersized for those testers with wider backs. That said, since it is a vibrating roller, we didn't feel as inclined to recline with it horizontally across the back. Of course, it all comes down to individual preference, but we personally don't love the sensation of our spinal cords vibrating. Secondly, we wish there was a built-in battery indicator, as you need to plug it in to find out the current battery level. Our main gripe, however, is how loud it is. At an average of 75 dBa, it is very noticeable and even distracting. The Arrow is also on the pricier side, but if you are looking for a massage tool with the ability to go deep, we think you'll be glad you paid up.
The Amazon Basics High-Density lives up to the branding — basic. But when basic and functional gear is available for an affordable price, we love to indulge. This roller uses molded polypropylene and is the firmest foam roller we tested; it also holds up well under pressure, earning it a high score in our durability metric. It's completely smooth with no topographical features and comes in four lengths: 12", 18", 24" and 36". We tested the 36" and found it to be a great length for most exercises, though it can be awkward to use in smaller spaces. Still, this back-to-basics approach is straightforward and easy to use. Because it is a standard roller, it is very ergonomically effective and versatile in its simplicity.
The Amazon Basics roller can be a bit more slippery than rollers that boast bigger nodules across their surfaces. Ultimately, the smoother surface might slide a bit across your hardwoods, but it doesn't detract from the overall usability. If you are looking for a simple, affordable, and user-friendly product, you cannot go wrong with this standard roller.
The Brazyn Morph Collapsible utilizes a clever and simple system to pack flat in just a few seconds. We were dubious of the mechanism's stability even though Brazyn claims it will support 350 pounds. In an effort to test this, we jumped on it repeatedly and even laid two adults on it simultaneously, and it didn't buckle. It's constructed from bamboo, recycled aluminum, and recycled foam, and we appreciate the use of recycled materials and renewable resources like bamboo. When this roller is folded flat, it's just over 14" long by 6.5" wide and 1.9" tall. When it's ready to use, we found its length a perfect size for us; it's wide enough to roll out the upper back effectively while still being packable. The latex-free EVA foam also inspires confidence in the longevity of this product. Our favorite thing about the Brazyn Collapsible is the versatile topography. The exterior is soft enough for use on more sensitive areas but firm enough to get into the knots in your meaty quads if that is what your body needs.
We found that users new to the Brazyn Morph had a tendency to only partially open the foam roller, and as such, we recommend checking to make sure it's fully deployed. This isn't something that takes away from this roller's ability to loosen knots, but it is something to be aware of. Furthermore, due to the paneled design devised for collapsibility, this model does not roll as smoothly as others we tested. But, if you often find yourself on the go looking for an easy-to-pack roller, we highly recommend adding this one into rotation.
Unique design stimulates muscle tissue differently than smooth rollers
Topography might not suit everyone
Cannot use the outer roller without the inner roller
While the color options available for the Lululemon Double Roller are soft in nature, the general feel of the roller strikes a perfect balance between soft and strong. The wavy texture of the outer roller is consistent enough to break up long, lean muscle groups. We love that the surface topography of the outer roller, which is 6-inches in height, is unvaried, as this pattern seems to allow us to dig it with a bit more vigor. Even if you prefer a gentler foam roll, the consistent surface texture makes for a predictable rolling experience, allowing the body to release muscle-guarding tendencies as you go. The 5-inch diameter inner roller is structured so that you target small or large muscle groups with ease. While it may not be your go-to texture for rolling out your IT bands or quads, the right body positioning can lead to the inner roller's bumps feeling like a massage therapist's knuckles on your body. The Double Roller is 20-inches long and constructed of ethylene-vinyl acetate, which is unscented and provides a durable, medium-firm touch.
Though we loved nearly everything about the Double Roller, it has a couple of downsides. Most notably, since the inner roller acts as structural support for the outer roller, the outer tube is unusable without the inner one. Furthermore, the unique surface texture might not be what everyone desires, and this is especially true if you are looking for something larger-sized and smooth. But if you are looking for an updated and unique way to dig into your tight muscles, this versatile 2-in-1 roller will likely be the self-massage tool you find yourself reaching for day after day.
The Invincible Fitness Set includes a whole crew of goodies to help you loosen your muscular knots, no matter where they reside. The main roller is made of chemical-free expanded polypropylene foam and is virtually odorless upon arrival. It is of medium density compared to the other rollers in our roundup and on the smaller side, stretching to only 12" in length with a 6" height profile. We love that this affordable set also includes a standard massage ball, a peanut ball, a muscle roller stick, three resistance bands, and a 96" strap with 12 loops for stretching. Amazing.
The topography of the Invincible Fitness foam roller is bland; it does not have any unique features across its smooth surface. The medium-density foam is also not as durable as higher-density options, but we do love that it is chemical-free. If you are looking for a burly foam roller, this one won't be for you. But if you are new to foam rolling and want to try it out in conjunction with other self-massage tools, this bundle cannot be beaten — especially for the price.
Why You Should Trust Us
Ally Arcuri leads this review armed with a lot of therapeutic exercise knowledge. Ally worked in a physical therapy clinic in South Lake Tahoe for 6 years before relocating to San Luis Obispo to encourage people through therapeutic exercise routines. She is an accomplished runner, professional yoga teacher, and an overall fitness enthusiast with a degree in exercise kinesiology. She believes that the key to physical success lies in balancing strength, endurance, and mobility.
Jason Peters, our other tester, has spent years training as a national-level rock climber. After his competition career, he transitioned into training youth athletes. With such strenuous training programs, recovery is a huge component of staying healthy. Foam rolling is a key element to Jason's recovery program, and he has spent hundreds of hours working with foam rollers.
We considered over 50 rollers before buying the top contenders to test. We had skiers, mountain bikers, runners, and rock climbers try these rollers for dozens of hours. Utilizing a consistent, full-body rolling routine to target most major muscle groups gave us a full picture of each model's performance. We also consulted personal trainers and physical therapists to undertand how they use foam rollers with different clients.
Analysis and Test Results
Your experience level and intended use will help you define which of these tools is best for you. Be honest with yourself about what you need in a roller. Though there are many uses for these tools, the most common is simply as a self-massage aid. As your muscles grow tight after a hard workout or just sleeping a bit funny, it is recommended that you roll them out to help with recovery and breaking up fascial adhesions. You can also use these versatile tools as balance trainers or as general home exercise equipment. All in all, foam rollers are fairly inexpensive tools that offer great returns to almost everyone who employs them.
There are many factors to consider in choosing the right roller for you; length, ergonomics, topography, foam density, durability, and other features. Let's break it all down.
We always purchase our gear at full price and test it without considering the cost. We revisit the price only once we have scored each item across our board of metrics. This helps us ensure that we provide unbiased, relevant information to you.
Value and durability go hand-in-hand, in our opinion. It doesn't seem worth it to spend your hard-earned money on a foam roller or anything else that isn't going to hold up through a variety of imposed demands. With foam rollers, value is actually a fairly tricky thing to assess. Some rollers are super soft and offer a more beginner-friendly approach to rolling. However, those products often do not hold up because they lack the foam density of burlier options. These rollers tend to be a bit less expensive because of the simple support.
The Amazon Basics and 321Strong rollers are two of our favorite values. Both offer versatility for an affordable price, though the Amazon Basics roller outshines the 321Stong in terms of durability. Versatility is important when it comes to value as well. We love knowing that we are spending our money on items that can be employed in various ways. In that vein, the Invincible Fitness set knocks it out of the park because the otherwise simple roller comes with a plethora of other fitness and self-care tools. The top-scoring TriggerPoint Grid is also of tremendous value. It's a few more dollars upfront but is highly durable and very effective.
Vibrating rollers are pricier than standard foam options, which makes sense. Some of them are more affordable than others. Though the Hyperice Vyper 3 is on the more expensive side, it offers a really user-friendly interface and app connectivity to help keep you moving. The app provides guided rolling sessions and an option to track your progress, which is unlike the other vibrating rollers we have tested. If you like to pay up for tech, the value of something like this will likely appeal to you.
Ergonomics is essentially the science of ensuring that a thing is designed so that human bodies can use it effectively and safely. The ergonomics of a foam roller are the most important factor when it comes to using them, which is why we chose to weight this metric more heavily than the others.
To determine the ergonomic fortitude of each roller, we tested each one at length on specific body parts. We took notes about how our bodies felt as they melted over the shapes of the rollers. We assessed how well each roller was able to penetrate our tissues to get deep into our fascia. The easier it was to assess and loosen muscle groups across the board, the higher the roller scored in this category.
For example, the TriggerPoint Grid offers great ergonomics because of its size and shape. Those two elements combine to make this roller excellent for almost every body part you would want to roll out. On the flip side, more unique rollers tend to have less wide-reaching ergonomic properties. Throughout our testing, we found that the simple rollers, such as the Amazon Basics and 321Strong offered better ergonomics than more niche options like the vibrating rollers.
Our ultimate choice when it comes to ergonomics is the Invincible Fitness bundle. While the foam roller itself leaves a bit to be desired, the sheer amount of differently-shaped tools covers all the ergonomic bases. Each tool included in this bundle is specifically designed to serve one or more areas of your body.
We also really enjoyed the Lululemon Double Roller. Initially, we expected to dislike this unique design, but the consistency of the topography won us over. It's more penetrative than a smooth roller but without being overly aggressive. The TriggerPoint Core was another high scorer thanks to its texture and size. It's small enough to get into small muscle groups but strong enough to take whatever you throw at it.
Foam density is another key factor in the feel of your roller. Generally, the softer the foam, the more gentle your foam roller will be, though there are exceptions. The downside to soft foam is that it tends to break down faster and will need to be replaced sooner.
While similar in density to the Amazon Basics roller, the ProsourceFit High Density offers strong but not too dense foam for easy and simple rolling. Both offer a less aggressive touch but perform relatively well in terms of durability. The Prosource roller might not be the most durable on the market, don't let that deter you if you need something on the gentler side for recovery or to help you work up to something firmer on particularly tender areas.
In our opinion, the Brazyn Morph and the 321Strong are the best densities for most people. A little firmer than those two is the TriggerPoint Grid. We found the Grid a bit too firm for a beginner's first couple of rolling sessions, but it is by far the most versatile of densities. Its foam is actually one of the softest we tested, but there is not much of it before getting to the rigid inner tube. This helps you manipulate your body weight on the roller to get the experience you need most. The TriggerPoint Core is a great option if you want something more compact than the Grid and also a bit more beginner-friendly. Instead of a rigid tube, the Core is solid foam, offering a bit gentler balance.
The firmest roller in our testing is the vibrating Premvida Arrow. Is it like rolling on a PVC pipe? Not quite, but it is not at all gentle. A step softer than that is the LifePro Surger Pro, another vibrating option. However, the slightly softer surface doesn't feel that way if you turn the vibrations up too high. In general, we found that vibrating rollers tend to be a lot harder because of the hardware needed to execute the technological demands of the motor. Even those covered in soft foam have less give because of how hard their centers are.
The Hyperice Vyper 3 is another high-performing and notably firm vibrating roller. The three vibration settings vary, and when in motion, they all feel pretty great. However, when this roller is used with no vibration, it is incredibly firm. Again, is it like rolling on a PVC pipe? Not exactly, but the vibrations soften the intensity by quite a bit. We are not totally stoked on the lack of versatility offered by the roller when compared to the interesting topography of the Premvida or the heat-conducting LifePro Surger Pro, but it definitely stands up as a strong, albeit firm, vibrating roller.
Topography simply refers to the ridges, grooves, and knobs that the surface of the roam roller features. Depending on your needs and preferences, this can be pretty interesting to experiment with, and if you can afford it, it's nice to have several options in your self-care kit. Ultimately, which topography is right for you all depends on how deep of a massage you are looking for. If you have tight muscles and are just working your way into your foam rolling journey, we recommend starting out with a medium-density foam roller with smooth topographical features. Knobs and textures can dig deep into tight fascia, but sometimes this can be too painful if you are just starting out.
If you think that a smooth roller might be too smooth and a harder, grooved roller might be too much, fear not — we have some options for you, Goldilocks! Our favorite middle-of-the-road roller, topographically speaking, is the Brazyn Morph Collapsible. It offers a cohesively textured surface and a bit of squish to truly split the difference between the rollers with thick knobs versus no knobs. Overall, this option provided us with everything we wanted out of a foam roller. The thumb-print-style divets can penetrate into sore muscles, but if you lighten your pressure, you can get by with a softer self-massage experience.
The TriggerPoint Grid also offers a balanced experience. The modest topography helps find those deeper knots while remaining a foam roller you'll want to use every day. The gentle features mixed with multi-density foam and a rigid hollow core make it one of the most versatile rollers we tested.
If you are looking for something with a bit more oomph, we recommend the Premvida Arrow roller. The topography of this roller is varied enough to offer a deep tissue, massage-like experience, but the knobs aren't so big that they feel like knuckles digging into your tender bits.
If you are intrigued by a heated foam roller, the LifePro Surger Pro might be a good choice for you. When used with heat, it has a neoprene sleeve that gives it a soft, unvaried surface texture. You can remove the sleeve to reveal a stiff but interesting surface texture, more equipped to dig deeper into your muscles. We love that this roller offers two different surface textures. And, in addition to this USB-powered heated sleeve that can comfortably reach 122 degrees Fahrenheit, it has a Bluetooth control panel that allows you to change the intensity of the vibration setting without changing positions.
The varied topography of the 321Strong is great for digging into smaller muscle groups or areas where you need more pinpointed attention. It strikes the perfect balance between aggressive and forgiving, making it a great choice for rolling out perpetually sore muscles. The chemical-free EVA foam that makes up the 3D surface is set up to mimic the feeling of a massage therapist's hands.
For beginners, it is important to find the balance between a bit of give and a mushy, worthless roller. This is often best found in a smoother, simpler topography. We really enjoyed the simplicity of the Amazon Basics roller, and we think you'll like it too, especially if smooth topography is more your speed.
The TriggerPoint Core roller and the Lululemon Double Roller stand out in this metric as well. In both cases, the balance between the gentle-but-strong lugs and the foam density feels perfect. The topography is interesting enough for advanced foam rolling fiends to enjoy but not so firm or varied to turn off people who are just learning to roll.
In our experience, durability goes hand-in-hand with value. Shelling out cold, hard cash for gear and watching it fall apart or degrade after a few uses doesn't feel good. With this in mind, we took our collection of foam rollers through a rigorous battery of tests to determine how durable they have the potential to be.
In addition to using these foam rollers for standard rolling purposes, we imposed heftier demands to see what these massage tools are truly made of. As you may expect, the softer, less dense rollers are more susceptible to abrasions, and in general, the vibrating rollers are coated in heartier, denser foam. The harder it was to mar each surface, the higher the roller scored in this category.
We found the TriggerPoint Grid to be the most durable because of its resilience beneath our bodies and fingernails. We also love the durability of the foam that coats the Brayzn Morph Collapsible. The foam coating of this travel-friendly roller is tougher than we expected, with no noticeable wear and tear after our testing regimen.
The Premvida Arrow is another that earned high accolades in the durability department. The Arrow is the Navy Seal of foam rollers — tougher than most, doesn't complain under pressure, and promotes deep muscular loosening. The control panel is impressive as well; commonly, we've seen small buttons and finicky toggle switches to change settings on the vibrating rollers. But the Arrow's mechanism is a basic rotating switch that feels strong beneath the fingers.
After hours of foam rolling for this review, we're feeling more limber and ready to train. Now it's time for you to consider your needs for your next massage tool purchase. You'll need to determine what kind of ergonomic support suits you best, what topography style will best serve your muscle groups, and how much foam density you'd like. Once you figure those things out, it becomes much easier to decide and purchase a tool that will serve you for years to come.
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