Looking for a massage ball to help you get out all the kinks? We researched dozens before settling on the best 9 for this review. We all have different preferences and unique bodies, so the massage tool market and its variety of options can be overwhelming. After choosing a comprehensive spread, we rigorously tested each product to provide you with everything you need to make a properly informed decision. We sat on, stood on, and rolled on each option, even using them on our friends and family to sort out the therapeutic winners from those that aren't worth your time.If you frequently notice that your muscles are tense or tight and you need more ways to decompress, you may want to take a look at muscles rollers or foam rollers. If rolling it out isn't enough, consider taking a deep dive into your yoga practice, exploring your options to find what helps your body feel its best.
|Price||$19.95 at REI||$17.00 List|
$16.99 at Amazon
|$74.00 at Amazon||$50 List|
|Pros||Targets large muscle groups, great texture, lightweight||Durable, latex-free, great for the spinal muscles||Well-sized, grippy||Great for icing, easy to use and grip|
|Cons||Less durable||Less versatile, attracts pet hair and dust||Very expensive, doesn't hold charge very long, harder to charge, attracts dust and pet hair||Less versatile, pricey|
|Bottom Line||A large and lightweight ball that makes rolling out large muscle groups accessible on the go||A highly effective tool for massaging the supporting muscles along the spine||Though this is a popular massage ball option, we found others that were more functional and that attracted less dust||This self-massage device is great for injured and inflamed tissues but lacks the versatility that we want in an everyday massage ball|
|Rating Categories||Pro-Tec Athletics O...||5Billion Peanut Mas...||Hyperice Hyperspher...||Recoup Fitness Cryo...|
|Specs||Pro-Tec Athletics O...||5Billion Peanut Mas...||Hyperice Hyperspher...||Recoup Fitness Cryo...|
|Weight||3.77 oz||11.6 oz||11.82 oz||15.06 oz|
|Size||4.7"||2.5" x 5"||3.5"||4"|
|Materials||EVA foam||Latex-free rubber||Dense silicone, plastics||Metal, plastic|
|Ideal Target Zone||Quads, IT bands, erectors/paraspinals||Suboccipitals, paraspinals, erector spinae||Quads, hamstrings, feet, glutes||Inflammed tissues and areas where tendonitis is common|
Best Overall Massage Ball Set
Tumaz 3-in-1 Set
The Tumaz 3-in-1 Set massage ball set is the true MVP of our roundup. Each one of the three tools in this set is versatile, ergonomically excellent, and durable. The set includes a 2.5-inch lacrosse-style ball, a 2.8-inch hard plastic spike ball, and a 6.3-inch x 3-inch bumpy, oblong roller. The lacrosse-style ball is free of offensive odors and firm enough to dig into hard-to-access muscle groups. It is also gentle enough to not feel like hard plastic digging into your skin. The spiky orb has very rigid, significant spikes and is great for loosening up the pesky plantar fascia. The oblong roller is made of phthalate-free PVC and is extra firm to the touch. The bumpy surface and gentle contour make this roller great for feet, spines, and the occasional IT band, depending on whether or not you like your rolling with a side of pain.
While we wholeheartedly believe that the Tumaz 3-in-1 is the best we tested, we acknowledge that the rigid surfaces and extreme textures might be too aggressive for some users. Even the softest component of this set, the lacrosse-style ball, offers less give than others we tested. This set of massage tools will be most loved by users looking for something to loosen and massage their entire bodies. With this durable team of tools, you'll be able to roll out the areas that hold the most tension. Overall, this set impressed us by being highly versatile, ergonomically sound, and durable.
Best Bang for the Buck
The TriggerPoint MobiPoint is unique in its countenance, but very functional when you’re looking for a self-massage tool to dig deep. Smaller than many of the other balls in our roundup, this 2-inch spiky ball provides a great massage to smaller muscle groups. We have generally found that the smaller a massage ball, the easier it is to reach and release knots that are in smaller muscle groups, as opposed to larger muscle groups like the quads or hamstrings. We love this ball for rolling out the pesky connective tissues in the feet and, of course, the piriformis. The grippy surface texture is strong enough to stay where you place it, but not sticky enough to attract dog hairs and dust like many other super-grippy balls. We love that this ball is easily washed with soap and water — neither of which degrades the surface of it. And the lower-than-average price tag make the MobiPoint an even sweeter deal.
The MobiPoint is smaller than average and covered in spikes, which makes it less versatile than other, more traditionally shaped balls. Since it is on the affordable side of things, we think that this massage ball makes a great addition to your collection of other self-massage tools, but may not be enough to be your one-and-only. Since it is purely made of plastic, it is harder than those made of silica and other materials that offer a bit more give. If you are looking to buy a versatile massage ball that you can use on large and small muscle groups alike, we recommend opting for a different ball. However, if you want an affordable, strong little ball that is going to loosen your smaller muscles groups in just the right way, the MobiPoint is a great choice for you.
Best Vibrating Massage Ball
TriggerPoint MB Vibe
The TriggerPoint MB Vibe is our favorite vibrating massage orb. Not only does the high-density silicone exterior provide a bit of cushion for tender areas, but the three vibration settings allow for a customizable experience. The ball also holds a charge longer than other vibrating choices we've tested. It comes with a standard, 110v plug and the charging port is easy to access. The lights on the ball indicate its level of charge, so you'll never be surprised when the power fades out. We absolutely love using this ball to loosen large muscle groups. We found that it can be used beneath the body or pressed into the muscle tissue with your hands. The vibrations mostly take away the need to apply extreme pressure, which appeals to those who prefer a relaxing self-massage experience.
Most of the downsides of the TriggerPoint MB Vibe are fairly predictable. It is significantly heavier than a simplistic ball, weighing in at a whopping 22.01 ounces. It's also bigger than many others we've tested at 4-inches in diameter. The larger size means it's a bit less versatile too, as larger balls are best employed on larger muscle groups. Furthermore, the vibrations can be quite unpleasant when used on leaner parts of the body. To top it off, the TriggerPoint Vibe is an investment. But if you are looking for a top-shelf vibrating self-massage tool — and the size, weight, and price aren't a deterrent — we absolutely recommend coughing up the cash for this option.
Best for a Gentle Touch
TriggerPoint Foam MB1
We love the sensation of the TriggerPoint Foam MB1 beneath our tightest muscles. The EVA foam is gentle enough to make self-massage enjoyable but firm enough to still pack a punch. The soft yet strong foam lends itself perfectly to a variety of body parts. Because this ball is less rigid than others in our review, we found it more versatile and accommodating to different preferences. No matter which body part you are attempting to loosen, this ball is up for the job.
As anticipated, the Trigger Point Foam is less durable than much of the competition. As is the case with items made of foam, this ball is not impervious to blemishes and gashes. Despite our rigorous testing, however, this ball endured, holding its shape well. The lack of durability will most likely show itself if a dog gets ahold of this one; the foam would not hold up to canine mastication. The Trigger Point Foam is also less easy to clean when compared to our other options. The foam can be wiped, but we do not recommend submerging this sphere into water or even getting it too wet. Overall, this massager is a great choice for anyone looking for a versatile, ergonomically solid, and gentler massage ball.
Best for Heavy-Duty Use
Epitomie Fitness Muscle Max
The Epitomie Fitness Muscle Max is a 3.2-inch ball with deep grooves and a hard-packed rubber body. It is on the heavier side when compared to other balls in our lineup, but at 6.5 oz, it is still very portable. The high-density rubber offers an intense and aggressive muscle release, while the grooves provide a varied surface to ensure deep loosening. We love how the surface texture helps the pressure penetrate the skin and work efficiently on the musculature below. The surface texture also provides a great grip on hardwood surfaces. The Muscle Max is a highly durable option for athletes with a "no pain, no gain" mentality. As a side note, this may be the only ball in our review that doesn't act as Velcro for dust and dog hair when used at home. We know this may not be a concern for everyone, but for those of us with pets, we know how gross it can feel to have your workout gear covered in hair.
The main drawback of the Muscle Max is that it might be a bit too intense for some users. This is not a ball for the faint of heart. If you prefer a gentle touch, we recommend steering clear of all "high-density" options. Because of its hard-packed feeling, the Muscle Max is fairly intense for use along the spine. If you're into that, this is the ball for you. This ball has a higher price point than some of its counterparts, but we believe it to be a worthy investment since the rubber is so durable.
Why You Should Trust Us
Ally Arcuri is an Exercise Specialist who holds a special place in her heart for therapeutic fitness in all forms. She has her bachelor's degree in Kinesiology from Cal State Fullerton and her 200-hour Yoga Teaching certificate from Yandara Yoga Institute. Throughout the course of her studies, she gained valuable knowledge about human anatomy and, specifically, how it relates to exercise. Ally spent many years working under talented physical therapists, which she believes has made her an integral part of the therapeutic exercise community. When she isn't chasing trail-running PRs, Ally can be found working on her own flexibility and mobility through yoga, Pilates, and other healing modalities.
Throughout our weeks of testing, we committed to using these massage tools for hours each day and wholeheartedly followed through with our commitment. Our previously-tense fascia is grateful for our efforts. Not only did we use our collection of massage balls in predictable ways, but we tried to think outside of the box as we created our testing regimen as well. We used our massage balls to loosen every accessible muscle group and took exhaustive notes along the way. We learned what we like in a self-massage tool and what technology we are better going without. We spent hours rolling our butts, guts, and thighs in an attempt to garner insider info and pass it on to you.
Analysis and Test Results
Whether you are a seasoned massage ball-using veteran or a total newbie to the game, everyone can find a use for a reliable massage sphere. Massage balls are an excellent tool for loosening tight muscle tissue and increasing mobility and flexibility. We sorted through some of the most popular variations on the market to determine who they're best for, what muscle groups they can release, and where they should be placed. We found our way through a strict battery of tests to determine which are worthwhile and which are not. Below we outline all of the details you need to select the right tool for your needs.
To assess value, we consider how well each product performed in relation to its price point. When a lower-priced item scores well, it is considered to have a better value ratio. We also took into account the versatility of each massage tool as we tested. A low-priced, high-performing, and versatile ball is the ultimate trifecta in this category.
The Tumaz was our top-scoring set, offering exceptional value because you get three different massage tools for one relatively low price. The versatility in these diverse sets makes full-body self-massaging a breeze.
The Pro-Tech Athletics Orb is a popular massage option that also offers a good value. We tested the 5-inch version, which is light enough to bring everywhere and large enough to act as a foam roller. We enjoy stowing this ball in our gym bag and rolling our IT bands after lower-body days at the gym.
Ergonomics is defined as "the design characteristics of an object." We tested each ball's functional ergonomics by using each one extensively on multiple muscle groups and evaluated how the design worked for, or against, us. We started this battery of tests on easy-to-access muscle groups and moved into smaller areas. While we rolled, squished, and sat on each ball, we focused on how easily each tool loosened our stiff muscles.
Some devices are specifically touted for being made for one muscle group or another, and we kept this in mind as we tested. We allotted two minutes per body part during each testing attempt and took extensive notes. We began this test series by rolling the arches of our feet and then moved to the greater glute area; both of these regions are extremely straightforward in terms of where and how to roll.
When it came time to level up, we opted to move into the lower back and shoulder blade areas. Again, we allowed for two minutes of relaxation (and sometimes pain) in each area before moving on. Our next phase of testing emphasized smaller, more tender areas such as our necks and hip flexors.
We weigh pros and cons to determine how functional each unit is, doing our best to decide which texture, level of rigidity, and shape are the most ergonomically effective across a broad range of situations. Ultimately we tested ergonomics with one burning question in mind: does this ball massage what we want in the most user-friendly and effective way possible?
When it comes to ergonomics, the massage tools that came as complementary sets have a decided edge. The Tumaz 3-in-1 Set was the real heavy hitter amongst our crew of tools. Each of the three pieces targets muscle groups slightly differently but is perfectly designed to accommodate the contours of the human body. We placed our hands on many balls during testing, and the ergonomically superior Tumaz tools are strikingly well-made and user-friendly. Another notable mention here is the Trigger Point Foam MB1. Something about this ball makes it feel like you can get it all — soft and gentle release all the way to hard targeted pressure. Pretty dreamy if you ask us.
There are some units that are not the most versatile, but for their intended purpose, they hit ergonomics out of the park. The 5Billion Peanut Ball is an ergonomically-specific massage tool best used on the muscles surrounding the spine. The deep contour allows space for the spine to rest without extreme pressure. This ball lacks versatility, but if you are looking for a tool to release the supporters of the spinal column specifically, the 5Billion could be your perfect match.
Another option that lacks versatility but offers supreme ergonomics is the Recoup Crysophere. This is a highly specified massage tool that is best used on inflamed tissues. To properly use this massage ball, the metal insert should be stored in the freezer. When you're ready to use it, pop it into the roller and get to work. The plastic rolling components don't transfer the cold, which makes for a very pleasant icing experience. Furthermore, this device can be set on the ground and used with your body weight atop it to really hit the spot.
We tested versatility in conjunction with ergonomics. While we could manipulate each ball into loosening our chosen muscle groups, we looked for those that did not need to be coerced. Meaning: we judged versatility by how easy it was to access each area without contortionism or other acrobatics.
Furthermore, we considered how many body parts were easily accessible with each ball's specific size and shape. As outlined above, we moved through three different "phases" in an attempt to determine each massage ball's versatility. We assessed whether each ball provided what it was intended for and worked as marketed. We then went one step further and looked at each one through a hyper-critical lens and wondered, is this ball good for relaxation and mobility as well as deep tissue work?
We don't know about you, but we appreciate minimalism. The best part about a super versatile ball is that an all-in-one tool creates far less clutter in your gym bag or around the house. Our favorite ball for versatility is the TriggerPoint Foam MB1. This gentle EVA foam sphere is extra versatile because of its softer surface. Many of the balls we tested were too hard for more tender or tight areas, so this foam option ended up satisfying those needs more adequately. And despite its softness, it's still firm enough to work for super tight areas that require a bit more leverage.
The Tumaz 3-in-1 Set is another super versatile option. Its versatility is somewhat obvious because there are three separate shapes included. More subtle differences like different surface textures and the variance of shapes mean you can likely find something for any body part.
We love the versatility of the smaller balls, too, even the non-traditionally shaped ones. The itty-bitty TriggerPoint MobiPoint is a 1.8-ounce spiky ball made of plastic that has a way of hitting you in the spots where you need it most.
We know from experience that few sensations are more jarring than being fully relaxed and laid out across a ball only to have it slip out from beneath you. With this annoyance in mind, we tested the grippiness and texture on the surface of each massage tool. We rested the full weight of our bodies on each ball, rolled to our heart's content, and forcibly tried to get each one to go skittering across our floor.
We were pleased to discover that many of the balls (diamonds, triangles, peanuts, and cylinders included) stayed put far better than any felt-enveloped tennis ball ever could. Very few options in our lineup were not grippy, though we did observe a few differences as we tested.
We learned that the stickier the surface, the more predictable the rolling, for the most part. This came with one unfortunate drawback — the grippier balls work like magnets for pet hair and dust on the floor. Luckily, the dog hair-collecting balls made of eco-friendly silica gel are waterproof and the hair problem can easily be solved with a quick rinse in the sink.
As we've already mentioned, the Epitomie Fitness Muscle Max ball has deep grooves that provide extra grip when used atop slippery surfaces. The Hyperice Hypersphere Mini is a 3.5-inch vibrating ball coated in dense silicone. The coating makes it extra sticky against smooth floors, which we appreciate. The downside of this, again, is that it is a magnet for any dust or pet hair in the vicinity.
As with most purchases, we want our massage tools to live long, prosperous lives. We placed heavy demands on these items during our test cycle to see which were up to the task.
Ultimately, we feel that durability is a huge factor in the value of a product, so we wanted to understand how well these useful massage shapes can reasonably last. By frequently putting our entire body weight on each ball, we could see how well they held up to the basic requirements of use. From there, even though our testing period is limited, we made sure to use each model as often as possible, and to its maximum potential to help simulate the abuse these tools go through over a prolonged period of time.
In general, we found that silica gel and rubber balls have the highest durability, maintaining their shape better than their slightly inferior counterparts. The latex-free rubber of the 5Billion Peanut is extra durable and takes every roll session like a champ.
The amount of self-massage tools on the market is vast, and each one has a different shape and size that targets different areas. We sifted through many of the most popular options to determine which ones will provide the release you are looking for, and which ones you don't need to waste your time on. Our extensive testing provided us with valuable knowledge that we are happy to pass on to you, from budget-friendly finds to high-tech sets. Now get rolling!
— Ally Arcuri
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