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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 15 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 Elvire Sport Foam Roller Set is a one-of-a-kind kit with all of the self-massage goodies you need for a comprehensive session. The firm and consistently-textured outer roller snugly holds the softer, more pliable inner roll in place. The foot roller helps you work out underfoot kinks, and the massage ball is a great on-the-go tool for added versatility. We love that this affordable set offers a little bit of everything, from firm and texturized to soft and nurturing. With the added extras, this set of massage tools allows you to massage nearly every muscle in your body. The main roller is 33 inches long and boasts a firm density with a slight amount of give. The inner roller is much softer, almost mushy under body weight, and almost the same length.
It is difficult to find elements to dislike about a self-massage kit that can massage your entire body. Our main complaint is that the inner roller, as comfy as it may be, just isn't as durable. We didn't have any trouble during our battery of testing, but our not-too-sharp fingernails were able to easily dive right into the foam, earning it a lower durability rating. This minor concern aside, if you are in the market for a bundle of self-massage tools that provide versatility without breaking the bank, the Elvire Sport Set is definitely the way to go.
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 many athletes' and weekend warriors' homes. Its popularity was earned by it being a versatile and durable tool for self-care — characteristics we attribute to its unique design. Its popularity also hinges upon its affordable price point, which is a huge asset for many people looking for at-home gear. The TriggerPoint Grid has a hollow core, made possible by .2" of hard plastic tube surrounded by a half-inch of multi-density EVA foam. The topographical features of this 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 is just under 13".
We found that the relatively short length of the TriggerPoint made it slightly less versatile and ergonomic 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 is completely subjective based on what your body craves. Overall, we feel this is an ideal roller for a wide variety of people and needs, from beginners to the most experienced athletes.
The Premvida Arrow Vibrating was our favorite of the vibrating foam rollers we tested. 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. 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 that can go deep, we think you'll be glad you paid up for this one.
Unique design stimulates muscle tissue differently than smooth rollers
REASONS TO AVOID
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 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.
When it comes to strength and durability, look no further than the aggressive RumbleRoller Mid Size. A favorite amongst athletes and people who love massages with a side of pain, this intensely-textured roller is our go-to when we have serious knots to contend with. We tested the extra-firm option, though there is one that is slightly less rigid. The consistent topography across the RumbleRoller makes learning how to use it a breeze. This roller is definitely a specialty piece of equipment in that it can pretty much only provide a deep massage. But after excessive testing, we grew used to the sensation and can confidently say that the RumbleRoller doesn't feel quite as aggressive as it looks. We love that this roller has multiple size options, all of which are latex-free and waterproof.
The RumbleRoller is not the roller we recommend for beginners because of the intensity of its protrusions. Our preference would be to have this roller and a softer, secondary roller to round out our massage tool lineup. The more aggressive topography also takes away from this roller's versatility. If you want a do-it-all foam roller, the RumbleRoller isn't going to be your best option because it is hard to dial back the intensity. But if you want a roller that is capable of accessing your deepest knots, this is a great choice for you.
Won't take the place of a traditional roller in some ways
The Chirp Wheel+ 6" is one of the more interesting self-massage devices in our review. We tested the 6-inch wheel, which is a hollow piece of hard plastic covered in EVA foam. The compact size makes this unique device easier to tote around than many of the typical foam rollers we tested. While there are many size options available, we found that the 6-inch size crossed over from being a yoga wheel to being used as a foam roller with ease. Though it took some time, we found we could roll out popular locations like our IT bands and calves. The durability of the inner tube and the outer foam is exceptional, with the outer foam being tough in the face of abrasions and the occasional clawed dog paw.
Though we fell in love with many of the applications of the Chirp Wheel, it won't take the place of a traditional roller in some ways. While many body parts are pretty accessible with this wheel, some rolling is best done with a standard-sized roller. We recommend this yoga wheel to anyone looking to expand their fitness gear arsenal, but we hesitate to recommend it to beginners who want to learn about foam rolling. If you are just getting into foam rolling, there are more user-friendly options out there. But if you want a massage tool that will introduce you to new self-massage positions, we recommend giving the Chirp Wheel a try.
Why You Should Trust Us
We considered over 60 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 understand how they use foam rollers with different clients. There are many factors to consider in choosing the right roller for you; length, ergonomics, topography, foam density, durability, and other features. For scoring, we broke our tests into four metrics:
Ergonomics (30% of overall score weighting)
Foam Density (25% weighting)
Topography (25% weighting)
Durability (20% weighting)
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.
Ally is backed up by Jason Peters, who 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.
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.
We always purchase our gear at full price and test it without considering the cost, and 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.
For us, durability is also an important aspect of what makes a high-value product. 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, this 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. However, they do tend to be a bit less expensive because of the simple support.
The Elvire Sport Foam Roller Set is a high-value choice. It's extremely versatile, which is important when it comes to value — we love knowing that we are spending our money on items that can be employed in various ways. In that vein, the Elvire Set knocks it out of the park because the otherwise simple roller comes with many other self-care tools.
The high-scoring TriggerPoint Grid is also of tremendous value. It is highly durable and very effective in a multitude of ways. This is one of our highest-scoring rollers and boasts an accessible price tag, impressive topography, and above-average versatility. We also really like the 321Strong Medium Density roller. It is much more aggressively textured than some, but its soft touch makes it a more versatile option.
Vibrating rollers are pricier than standard foam options, which makes sense. The Hyperice Vyper 3 is the most expensive roller we tested, but 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. If you'd rather just have a solid vibrating roller without as many bells and whistles but for half the price of the Vyper, check out the Premvida Arrow.
We love using the vibrating rollers on big muscle groups like our quads. Overall though, these rollers don't score as high because they lack the versatility of non-vibrating options. They tend to be significantly more rigid and less comfortable for restorative exercises. While the vibrations feel nice on large muscle groups, the sensation doesn't consistently feel good throughout the entire body. If you want a device that doubles as a massage gun and a roller, a vibrating roller might be for you. When viewed through the lens of therapeutic exercises, the vibrating rollers seem more gimmicky and expensive than anything else. All told, we enjoyed the sensations of some of them but ultimately prefer a more back-to-basics approach to self-massage.
Ergonomics is the science of ensuring that something is designed so human bodies can use it effectively and safely — the relationship between an object and a human. 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 could 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. It's a bit unfair, but the Elvire Roller Set easily ran away with the high score here. Because it is a set comprised of many different tools, you're pretty much guaranteed to have the right-shaped tool for whatever tight spot you want to address.
The TriggerPoint Grid offers great ergonomics thanks to its size and shape. These two elements combine to make this roller excellent for almost any 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 321Strong, Amazon Basics, and TriggerPoint Rush, offered better ergonomics than more niche options like the vibrating rollers.
We 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 is another high scorer, thanks to its texture and size. It's small enough to get into smaller 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 exceptions exist. The downside to soft foam is that it tends to break down faster and will need to be replaced sooner.
The Elvire scored major points in this metric. This set has a two-in-one roller that offers a firm and evenly-textured outer and a smooth, soft inner roll. Though each component offers a divergent specialty, either can be used comfortably across a multitude of body parts.
We think the Brazyn Life Morph, Lululemon Double Roller, and the 321Strong are the best densities for most people. The TriggerPoint Grid and TriggerPoint Rush are a little firmer than the three rollers listed above. We found the Grid and the Rush a bit too firm for a beginner's first couple of rolling sessions, but these rollers offer some of the most versatile of densities. Much like the casing of the Chirp Wheel, the 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 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 Hyperice Vyper 3, another vibrating option. However, the slightly softer surface doesn't feel that way if you turn the vibrations up too high. In general, vibrating rollers tend to be a lot harder because of what's 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 Vyper 3 is a high-performing and notably firm vibrating roller. The three vibration settings vary, and they all feel pretty great when in motion. However, it is incredibly firm when used with no vibration, as the vibrations soften the intensity by quite a bit. Overall, we are not totally stoked by the lack of versatility offered by the Vyper when compared to the interesting topography of the Premvida.
The ProsourceFit High Density and Amazon Basics High-Density have 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, but don't let that deter you if you need something gentler for recovery or to help you work up to something firmer on particularly tender areas.
Topography 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 and TriggerPoint Rush offer balanced rolling experiences, too. The modest topography helps find those deeper knots while maintaining its standing as a foam roller you'll want to use daily. The gentle features mixed with multi-density foam and a rigid hollow core make it one of the more versatile rollers we tested.
If you are looking for something with a bit more oomph, we recommend the RumbleRoller. The topography of this roller is rugged enough to provide a deep tissue, massage-like experience. The knobs generally feel like strong knuckles that dig into your tender bits in a hurt-so-good way.
The varied topography of the 321Strong, much like the Lululemon roller, is great for digging into smaller muscle groups or areas where you need more pinpointed attention. Both of these rollers strike the perfect balance between aggressive and forgiving, making them a great choice for rolling out perpetually sore muscles. The chemical-free EVA foam of the 321 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 stands out in this metric as well. 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.
We would be remiss not to mention the softest, squishiest roller in our collection — the OPTP Pro-Roller Soft. With the word "soft" in the title, you know this roller is bound to give you a therapeutic rolling experience. While it didn't score very well across the board, the OPTP roller is comfortable and useful on days when only the gentlest touch will do. This roller became our go-to during trail marathon training, a grueling and intense season that culminated in a plethora of agonizingly sore muscles.
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 one of the most durable because of its resilience beneath our bodies and fingernails; the TriggerPoint Rush scored equally well. 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 RumbleRoller took the top spot, though — this knobby and burly roller is ready for the long haul.
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 also impressive; we've commonly 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, deciding and purchasing a tool that will serve you for years to come becomes much easier.
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