intro foam rollers
LAST UPDATED: 24 Mar 2022
The

Best Foam Roller

Staying Alive - Buying Guide

Adding a quality foam roller can be a lifesaver for avid fitness bunnies and professional-grade athletes, who may struggle with tight muscles and delayed onset muscle soreness. 

If you suffer from muscle tension or muscle knots, or you simply want something to aid muscle recovery for major muscle groups, a smooth roller or textured roller can provide a more targeted message. Working those areas of concern. 

Foam rolling is fast becoming a huge recovery tool in the fitness world, with exercise enthusiasts, athletes, trainers, and their physical therapists. 

Using a foam roller pre-workout can help to loosen muscle soreness and improve range of motion. 

Post-workout usage of a foam roller can help relieve muscle knots, work on trigger points and relieve muscle pain. Helping your recovery for your next workout. As they say, the faster you recover the more successfully you train. 

Whilst many foam rollers may cause discomfort when foam rolling, with regular use the discomfort dissipates, so stick with it. Short-term pain for long-term gain! 

We’ve rounded up the best foam rollers on the market so you can relieve muscle tightness! 

This article was written by Staying Alive Crew Published at 04:19 pm
Contents

The Best Foam Rollers

  • The TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller is an impressive addition to our best foam rollers list. 

    It has a multi-density exterior constructed over a rigid, hollow core that is formulated to withstand repeated use whilst maintaining its shape.

    Designed to mimic getting a massage to relieve achy muscles from a physical therapist, without the hefty massage bill, the GRID Foam Roller accesses trigger points and delivers in spades. 

    Constructed using closed-cell EVA foam and a reinforced core made of durable PVC, makes it is tough and durable.

    From a size perspective, the GRID Foam Roller is smaller than some of the foam rollers on the market, the compact design with its textured surface focuses on giving a deep massage, and is ideal for travel. 

    The ace up its sleeve is, it's backed by a one-year warranty, so you can focus on working out those knots and relieve discomfort from that muscle tear.

    Key Features
    • EVA foam over hollow core
    • Density: Firm
    • Free online instructional video
    • Maximum user weight: 500 pounds
    • Patented multi-density design
    • Durable construction
    • Textured surface
    Specifications
    • Brand: Trigger Point Performance
    • Model: TriggerPoint GRID X Foam Roller
    • Size: 13 x 5.5 x 5.5 inches
    Pros
    • 1-year warranty
    • Free online instructional video library
    • Ideal for rolling sore muscles & applying more pressure for a deep tissue massage
    • Suitable for users seeking a firm roller for tight muscles
    • Great for popping into your gym bag or for travel
    • Reasonable mid-range price
    • Different textures for different trigger points
    Cons
    • Maybe too firm for beginners or intermediate users who may want to find foam rollers that are soft or medium density
    Show Product Details
  • The AmazonBasics High-Density Foam Roller is a multi-purpose foam roller molded from polypropylene that gets into all those painful nook and crannies to workout out those painful trigger points. 

    Sporting firm density, this AB High-Density Roller is not for newbies to start their foam rolling routine.  

    Intermediate and experienced users will revel at the dense foam construction and restorative benefits providing balance, strength, improving flexibility, and alleviating sore muscles.

    Despite its firmness, this is a lightweight foam roller weighing one pound. Don't be fooled by how light it is, unlike other foam rollers, this foam roller is built to support all body types.

    For those of you on a modest budget, the AB High-Density Foam Roller is a steal. Happy foam roll!

    Key Features
    • High-density
    • Smooth foam roller with molded edges
    • Made in the USA
    • Material: EPP
    • Density: Firm
    • Lightweight
    • Multiple colors & sizes are available
    Specifications
    • Brand: AmazonBasics
    • Model: AmazonBasics High-Density Foam Roller
    • Size: 35.9 x 5.7 x 5.6 inches
    Pros
    • A great budget option for people who already have experience with self-myofascial release & want to increase the intensity
    • Durable & portable
    • Ideal for people seeking to add rolling into their recovery routine
    • A good option for intermediate & experienced users
    • Comes in different sizes
    • Multiple density levels are available
    • Ideal for balance, strengthening, flexibility & recovery routines
    Cons
    • Not suited to beginners, who may prefer a softer roller
    Show Product Details
  • The OPTP Pro-Roller Standard Density Foam Roller earns its place fair and square in our shortlist of best foam rollers. The durable EVA foam shaped like a rolling pin allows for heavy, repeated use.

    This Pro-Roller is ideal for users who want a softer texture and soft density, or who are new to foam rolling. 

    The softer material can bend to the shape of your body and it is a great tool to aid movements in balance and stability such as Pilates exercises. Consider it your certified personal trainer. 

    Your body will thank you for ironing out pesky kinks and painful knots, increasing blood flow and relieving pain with a low-impact massage.

    The OPTP Pro-Roller is a must-have roller in your recovery repertoire!

    Key Features
    • Closed-cell, heat molded EVA foam
    • Density: standard
    • Multiple size options
    • Versatile fitness tool
    • Color: blue marble
    Specifications
    • Brand: OPTP
    • Model: OPTP Pro-Roller Standard Density Foam Roller
    • Size: 35.9 x 6.3 x 6 inches
    Pros
    • Multiple size options, for those seeking long rollers
    • Ideal for stretching, fitness, pilates & yoga
    • Great for plantar fasciitis, a sore muscle & to increase blood flow
    • Easy to clean
    • Cheaper than physical therapist bills
    • A good option for beginners & intermediate level users
    Cons
    • Density may be too soft for experienced users
    • It may not be suitable for people looking for grooves & textured rollers
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  • Stretch overworked and strained muscles of the leg, arms, and feet by using the 321 Strong Foam Roller

    The variously sized nodules enable you to massage most of your body and access all the trigger points you want.

    It's no surprise the 321 Strong Foam Roller is loved by runners, athletes, yoga and Pilates students, swimmers, physical or sports therapy patients, and general fitness enthusiasts.

    The medium density makes it ideal for newbies using a foam roller and yet still being effective at penetrating the soft tissue layer of tired muscles. 

    An outstanding tool to aid recovery and treat muscle pain!

    Key Features
    • Medium-density
    • Triple grid 3D massage zone mimics the finger, palm & thumb of a therapist
    • Variously sized modules
    • Weight: 1 pound
    • Comes with an e-book
    Specifications
    • Brand: 321 Strong
    • Model: 321 Strong Foam Roller
    • Size: 2.5 x 5.5 x 5.5 inches
    Pros
    • Travel friendly
    • Ideal for better flexibility, mobility, reducing muscle pain & improving recovery time
    • Ideal for users looking for a tool to alleviate pulled muscles
    • Penetrates deeply into muscle tissue for maximum relief
    • Affordable
    • Great for pre & post-workout use
    Cons
    • Not for people who don't like ridges or grooves or a vibrating foam roller
    • Too small for bigger people or people looking to get a full back massage
    Show Product Details
  • Brought to you by the sporting giant TRX, comes the TRX Rocker Myofascial Tool. Setting a new standard in foam rolling.

    The TRX Rocker is the only tool that promotes rocking as a highly effective technique for achieving hyper-focused myofascial release, increased blood flow and circulation, and promotes overall relaxation and recovery, while it creates friction. 

    The TRX Rocker's distinctive design features 3 levels of intensity, ranging from low intensity for overall relaxation, to medium intensity for deeper tissue release, to high intensity for a targeted massage. 

    Allowing you to engage in a full progression of release for small or large muscle groups, wherever and whenever you need it. 

    The distinctive shape of the TRX Rocker enables you to rock slightly back and forth instead of rolling, to get a deeper and more precise massage

    Boasting a non-slip exterior means you can rock without rolling safely and effectively. 

    Designed for the whole body, you can use the TRX Rocker on your neck, back, hips, glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, and ankles by following the targeted rock-out exercises provided for beginners, intermediate, and advanced level users. 

    Equipped with a side that has a smooth surface and a side that has ridges allows the TRX Rocker has the flexibility to work muscle adhesions and relieve pain from sore muscles.

    What are you waiting for, its time to rock, not roll with this best foam roller at a budget-friendly price!

    Key Features
    • Distinct teardrop shape
    • 3 levels of intensity
    • Color: black & yellow
    • Material: foam
    • 2 sizes available
    • Targeted rock-out exercises
    • Anti-slip surface for worry-free rocking
    Specifications
    • Brand: TRX
    • Model: TRX Rocker Myofascial Tool
    • Size: 26 x 6 inches
    Pros
    • 100% satisfaction guaranteed
    • 1-year labor & parts warranty
    • An ideal option for those looking to get a deeper & more precise massage
    • 3 different degrees of firmness, combined into 1 roller, allowing you to control the intensity
    • Great for muscle release, increased blood flow & delayed onset muscle soreness
    • Available in 2 sizes, if users prefer a longer length
    • Suitable exercises for beginners new to foam rolling, intermediate & advanced users
    • The best foam roller at a budget-friendly price
    • Perfect for users who want to avoid foam rolling with a traditional foam roller
    Cons
    • Not for people who like the rolling sensation or are seeking a vibrating foam roller
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  • The Ultimate Back Roller makes it into our best foam roller list as the first chiropractor invented back and yoga wheel, with a spine gap and therapeutic bump pattern designed to enhance spinal extension, mobility, and flexibility. 

    The spine gap allows the lumbar spine to move freely as you roll, placing no pressure on the spine. 

    Four rows of large alternating bumpy knobs deeply massage your back as you foam roll, making it the widest and most stable back roller on the market. 

    Made from tough EVA molded foam, it can support 1,000 pounds, making it tough as nails, whilst at the same time being travel-friendly to fit into backpacks and suitcases. 

    You'll be getting a more targeted massage and standing taller in no time!

    Key Features
    • Made in the USA
    • Tough molded foam construction
    • 1,000-pound capacity
    • Weight: 3.35 pounds
    • Patented staggering bump pattern
    • Color: Black with yellow interior
    • Developed by chiropractor & Acumobility co-founder Dr. Sonia Pasquale
    Specifications
    • Brand: Acumobility
    • Model: The Ultimate Back Roller
    • Size: 11.3 x 7.48 x 11.3 inches
    Pros
    • Spine gap targets muscles on the entire length of the spine
    • An impressive & stable back roller in the market
    • Ideal for anyone looking for a roller focused on the back
    • Suitable option for people seeking to relieve back pain & tightness & improve posture with back extension
    • A great option for those looking for a yoga wheel & travel friendly
    • An outstanding shorter rollers
    Cons
    • On the pricier side of foam rollers
    • Some may find it too painful when first using
    Show Product Details
  • Roll yourself to a stronger and healthier you with the Gaiam Restore Total Body Foam Roller

    It provides a semi-firm texture for gently massaging and stretching, allowing you to release built-up tension, loosen stiffness and elongate and align the skeletal system.

    Expert guidance is on hand in a 15-minute downloadable video showcasing a routine to expand your range of motion, relax muscles, release tension and restore soft tissue. 

    Recovery, pain relief, and releasing tension have never been easier than with this semi-firm density longer length foam roller. 

    The foam is soft enough to offer a soothing effect, and yet firm enough to break up and roll out sore muscles

    Key Features
    • Semi-firm density
    • Made of durable foam
    • Includes 15-minute digital workout
    • Available in 2 sizes
    Specifications
    • Brand: Gaiam
    • Model: Gaiam Restore Total Body Foam Roller
    • Size: 5.75 x 5.75 x 36 inches
    Pros
    • 3-year limited warranty
    • Great for people looking for a gentle massage sensation for complete rejuvenation
    • Ideal for loosening tight muscles, soothing muscle group soreness & aiding muscle recovery
    • Great length for a total body workout
    • Includes a 15-minute video
    Cons
    • Some users may find the density too firm
    • Not for users seeking vibrating rollers or a roller to reach deep trigger points
    Show Product Details
  • The LuxFit Premium High-Density Foam Roller offers superior strength and withstands the rigors of an intense workout. 

    Making the LuxFit Premium an ideal choice for experienced users, athletes, trainers, and your physical therapist, for its undeniable durability combined with a breathtakingly low price.

    The LuxFit Premium is excellent for enabling core stabilization, developing lower body balance, and alleviating muscle tension. 

    Unlike other rollers, the density is firm, so using the LuxFit Premium is no picnic when you first start out. 

    If you stick with it, your muscles will thank you for the much-needed release, allowing you to be fully recovered and rearing to go for your next training session.

    Key Features
    • Material: EPP
    • High-density foam
    • 3 sizes available
    • Ultra-rigid, providing maximum firmness
    Specifications
    • Brand: LuxFit
    • Model: LuxFit Premium High-Density Foam Roller
    • Size: 35.9 x 5.9 x 5.9 inches
    Pros
    • 1-year limited warranty
    • Great for increasing blood flow & oxygen to injured areas
    • Available in 3 sizes
    • Very reasonably priced for such a high-quality product
    • A good option for people seeking physical therapy, massage therapy & muscle reflexology
    • Affordable
    Cons
    • Too hard/thick for some petite people
    • Not for users seeking a vibrating foam roller
    Show Product Details
  • The Yes4All Premium USA Foam Roller is an outstanding foam roller with a multitude of benefits ranging from self-myofascial release to soothing tight and fatigued muscles.

    Made in the good old US of A, the quality of the Premium USA Foam Roller is high. 

    Constructed from material that is toxic-free, makes the foam 30% heavier and firmer than other similar foam rollers. 

    The firmness level is medium, which is a little less intense compared to the density of EPP and EVA foam rollers. 

    At this price tag who needs vibrating foam when you can apply your own body weight as pressure! 

    Key Features
    • High-density construction & dense EPP foam material
    • 4 sizes available
    • Colors: Blue & purple
    • Firmness: Medium
    • Maximum Weight Capacity: 250 pounds
    Specifications
    • Brand: Yes4All
    • Model: Yes4All Premium USA Foam Roller
    • Size: 11.97 x 5.91 x 5.75 inches
    Pros
    • 1-year limited warranty
    • Returns permitted within 30 days
    • Suitable for intermediate & experienced users
    • Perfect for dynamic warm-up & stretching
    • Economical
    • Great for self-massage therapy & myofascial release
    Cons
    • Firmness may feel too hard against your muscles, to begin with
    Show Product Details
  • The Brazyn Morph Foam Roller is a uniquely designed portable and easy-to-store foam roller. 

    When expanded, the Morph Foam Roller has an industry-standard diameter of 5.5 inches and a length of 14.5 inches, making it the perfect size for your foam rolling needs. 

    When collapsed, it’s smaller than two-folded t-shirts, allowing you to push in the tabs to collapse it and simply pull the tabs to expand it. voila!

    Despite its compactness, the Morp Foam Roller makes no compromises in providing a full-surface foam roll that optimizes your foam rolling needs.

    Despite being lightweight and easy for travel, the Morph Foam Roller is built like a tank, making it strong and durable, and able to withstand a maximum user body weight of 350 pounds. 

    Finally, constructed of strong but eco-friendly materials like bamboo and aluminum allows you to focus on relieving muscle tension with your conscious completely at ease!

    Key Features
    • Medium-density
    • Textured foam roller
    • Eco-friendly materials: bamboo & aluminum
    • Handcrafted in Europe
    • Collapse, stash & go
    • Maximum user weight: 350 pounds
    • Weight: 1.5 pounds
    Specifications
    • Brand: Brazyn
    • Model: Brazyn Morph Foam Roller
    • Size: 15.91 x 7.05 x 2.6 inches
    Pros
    • One of the best foam rollers on the market
    • 30-day money-back guarantee
    • Packs flat and pull to open - Great for travel & compact to pack
    • Smoother foam surface for a traditional rolling feel
    • Easy to use
    • Strong & durable
    • Comes with a guide providing different stretches & use for foam roller for relaxation, back pain, & before bed exercises & morning stretches
    • Ideal for frequent travelers or users who want to take their foam roller on the go with them
    Cons
    • On the pricier side of foam rollers
    Show Product Details
  • Getting a dual-zone technology foam roller is possible with the Gimme 10 Foam Roller

    The cylinder is constructed with bumps to gently penetrate soft tissue, stretching short muscle fibers and relieving tension in your muscles.

    With a length of 13-inches, it’s a compact and portable foam roller, ideal for traveling, or when you are on the go to take to the gym. 

    You can stop searching for other tools, this is the ultimate massager, applying firm therapeutic pressure while rolling hard muscles on this spiky texture will relieve the most stubborn of knots.

    Key Features
    • 6 colors
    • Material: EVA, ABS
    • Heavy-duty ABS hollow-core muscle roller with triple grid massage zones
    • Eco-friendly
    • Density: medium
    Specifications
    • Brand: Gimme 10
    • Model: Gimme 10 Foam Roller
    • Size: 12.5 x 5.25 x 5.25 inches
    Pros
    • Perfect for runners, CrossFit, yoga, Pilates, dance, athletes, & warm-ups & post-workout recovery
    • Good quality
    • Compact & lightweight
    • Removable EPP foam core lets you adjust the firmness from standard to firm (you get 2 foam rollers in 1)
    Cons
    • Very firm, not the best option for beginners
    • Can be painful if you are not accustomed to targeting pressure points
    Show Product Details

Foam Rollers Buying Guide

Foam rolling is a great way to help you recover from all kinds of workouts by loosening uptight and achy muscles, by giving yourself a deep-tissue massage through self-administered myofascial release (SMR). 

The process involves using your own body weight, to stimulate and relax your muscles. 

There are lots of foam rollers available, in different shapes and sizes and some are best for relieving specific knots. How do you know which foam roller to select?

We’ve summarized all the key considerations you may want to take into account to ensure you choose the most effective foam roller for you.

Foam Rollers

Foam rollers are constructed to help alleviate sore muscles and can be an effective tool to use either pre or post-workout. 

A foam roller enables you to get a deep tissue massage, administered by yourself at home. 

Using a foam roller has become a popular recovery and performance tool that amateur fitness enthusiasts to professional-grade athletes and fitness coaches are using to stretch sore muscles, release painful knots, and target pressure points. 

To use it, you slowly roll an area of your body, like your back, or your calves, back and forth across the top of the foam roller.

Benefits of Foam Rollers

Using a foam roller helps to release tension in the muscles, alleviate muscle soreness and helps to improve range of motion and flexibility, and boost recovery and performance. 

Foam rollers help to increase blood flow to various parts of the body and they are effective in helping users to recover from muscle fatigue and stiffness, soreness, and or injuries by acting as a home massage.

Features of a Best Foam Roller

Density

Foam rollers come in different densities, which defines how they feel and who they are best suited to. Most rollers are broken down into three categories: soft, medium, or firm.

Foam rollers are often color-coded to reflect their firmness level.

  • Soft Density Rollers - These are designed to offer comfort vs. a deeper massage that firm rollers provide. They give a gentler massage to the muscles. If you are new to using a foam roller, it may be advisable to start with a soft density one. Most soft rollers are white. 
  • Standard Density Rollers - These have a medium level of firmness and typically they are colorful. Medium-density is ideal if you are looking for a firmer amount of pressure.
  • Firm Density - If you are looking for a deeper, more intense massage then opt for a firm density roller, which comes in black. This is as firm as a roller gets.

Shape and Size

Foam rollers come in a range of sizes. Below are the more common types seen on the market.

  • Traditional Full-Size - The traditional foam roller is 36 inches in length and roughly 6 inches in diameter, making it versatile for a variety of uses. It’s excellent for massaging larger muscle groups, spanning your entire back.   
  • Shorter Length - Shorter foam rollers are great if you’re looking for a portable one for the gym, or for traveling. They are 6 inches in diameter and are either 12 or 18 inches in length. They are excellent to target more precise areas.
  • Smaller Diameter - These foam rollers typically have a 4-inch diameter, making them lower to the floor. They are great for the elderly and physical therapy patients.
  • Ridges or Bumps - If you’re looking for a more intense or deeper massage then you may want a foam roller that has protrusions, allowing a more precision massage. These foam rollers get into the tightest of knots to offer relief by mimicking the hands of a masseuse.  
  • Flat Half-Size - Aesthetically, this type of foam roller looks like it's been cut in half lengthwise. These foam rollers are used for leg and foot stretches, and to massage the arches of the feet.

Material

The material used to construct a foam roller can help define how long it will last and what the primary purpose of its usage is.

  • Open-Cell - In terms of durability, rollers made with open-cell construction have a tendency to break down more than closed-cell rollers. Price-wise they are the cheapest option on the market. 
  • EPP Foam - These foam rollers are made from EPP beads and are high quality, yet price-wise they remain quite economical. They are quite versatile, whether you’re a newcomer or a seasoned foam roller.
  •  EVA Foam - These foam rollers are made from EVA foam and are durable. They are designed to endure heavy, repeated usage, typically expected in professional gyms or pilates and or yoga studios. Making these a top choice for at-home use too.

 

Foam Rollers FAQ

How often should you use a foam roller?

There is no hard and fast rule as to how often you should use a foam roller. Consistent usage yields the most effective results. 

Many people use a foam roller on a daily basis, or try to be disciplined to use a foam roller at least three or four times a week to target specific muscle groups and aid recovery for their next workout. 

Should a foam roller hurt?

If your muscles are sore, stiff or you have a tender spot with an extremely tight knot or knots, using a foam roller may cause a certain level of discomfort. This is very normal and to be expected.

It is up to you to determine how much body weight pressure to exert when focused on a particularly tender spot. 

If you can handle it, target tight knots or tight areas for anything from five seconds to thirty seconds. The tenderness should slowly dissipate from the tender spot. 

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