If you’ve looked into adding a foam roller to your workout routine to help with stretching and some increased flexibility, you might be a bit overwhelmed by all the different options on the market. Like most exercise equipment, foam rollers come in many different shapes, sizes, and styles, which can make choosing the one that’s best for you difficult.
To help you decide, we’ve taken a look at the foam rollers currently on the market and narrowed them down to the top 5 that are worth considering. In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at these foam rollers, explain what features set them apart, and explore why you might choose one over another. With this information in hand, you’ll be able to pick the right foam roller for your workout, warm-up, and routine.
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How Do We Rate Foam Rollers?
When it comes to determining which are the best foam rollers on the market in 2017, how do we go about it? In measuring foam rollers we use a set of five criteria. First, we look at the overall features offered by the manufacturer relative to how expensive the machine is.
Second, we survey and review customer ratings on a variety of platforms in order to determine the greatest customer experience.
Third, we consider to what degree consumers report problems with their rollers relative to the severity of those problems. Fourth, we consider how durable the foam rollers are and to what degree the manufacturer’s warranties provide for the longevity of the rollers. Fifth, we consider any value-added bonuses offered by the manufacturer relative to other bonuses from other producers.
Given these criteria, what are the top 5 foam rollers in 2017? Let’s take a look.
1. TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller
The Original GRID Foam Roller is one of the most popular and highest-rated foam rollers on the market. It is highly durable and meant for intense use. This roller has a patented design that makes it stand out from all the other rollers on our list. While models like the #3 LuxFit are smooth rollers, the GRID features a ribbed design.
This enables you to move across the roller along the ribs, as well as with the roller as it moves underneath you. The ribs are designed in such a way that they provide for increased pressure, massaging along different planes of contact.
A unique feature of the TriggerPoint GRID is the construction. While the other rollers on our list are a solid material, the GRID foam roller has a hollow core. Around this core is EVA foam in the patented rib pattern. This sturdy hollow core allows the GRID to be both more durable and more flexible at the same time. But make no mistake, this is a very firm roller. You should not expect a soft cushion.
The hollow core allows the GRID roller to maintain its shape throughout many uses without becoming flattened or warped. And with a recommended weight allowance of up to 500 pounds, no other foam roller on our list comes close to being able to handle this kind of pressure. If you are looking for a foam roller that can handle the most weight, then the GRID is definitely what you’re looking for.
The GRID foam roller comes in several different sizes: a 4-inch mini roller, a standard 13-inch roller, and a full-sized 26-inch roller. Each of these is around 5.5 inches in diameter, which makes them a bit smaller than the 6-inch diameter of the #2 ProSource foam roller. Both the 4-inch and the 13-inch models are small enough for you to travel conveniently to and from exercise classes. They also come in five different colors: black, camo, lime green, orange, and pink. So you should be able to find a color that suits your personality.
The GRID foam roller comes with a one-year warranty. This covers any manufacturing errors in the foam roller. Other models, like the #2 ProSource foam roller, come with a longer warranty. But one year should be long enough to keep you covered during the normal time within which these types of products might fail.
One nice bonus that is included with the GRID foam roller is access to a free, online video library that teaches you exactly how to use it properly. Videos can also give you ideas for how to maximize results and get the most out of your workouts with the foam roller. This can be a real advantage to those unsure of the best practices when using a foam roller.
Overall, the GRID foam roller is more expensive than other rollers on our list. The 13-inch model has an MSRP of $45, which makes it about $10-$20 more expensive than the #2 ProSource roller on our list. But for the added durability, design, and warranty, many users will be quite happy to pay a little more. Moreover, prices are always changing, so it is a good idea to check out current deals.
2. ProSource Sports Medicine Foam Roller
Number 2 on our list is the ProSource Sports Medicine Foam Roller. Like the #1 GRID foam roller, this model features a patterned design in the foam to target pressure points. However, you will notice that the design of the ProSource roller is much more rigid than that of the GRID roller.
The deeper and more angular ridges on the ProSource are meant to better stimulate massaging effects. It features 3 different patterns, or zones, for various kinds of tissue massage that you might need.
Unlike the GRID foam roller, the ProSource foam roller has a solid core center. This allows it to be somewhat more durable, with less flexibility. The EVA foam construction will give you the support you need while stretching and working out. However, the deep ridge pattern makes it a bit more difficult to roll on some surfaces than models like the #3 LuxFit foam roller. If you are looking for a foam roller for massaging effects, however, the ProSource can handle the job a bit better.
The ProSource foam roller comes in two different lengths: 13 inches and 26 inches. Both models have a slightly larger diameter at 6 inches than the #1 GRID roller, which is only 5.5 inches. This makes the ProSource somewhat easier for travel if you plan on taking it to the gym, though both 13-inch models should travel well.
ProSource does not provide a recommended weight maximum for their foam rollers, but reports from users up to 300 pounds say they have had no difficulties using this model. It does not come with any bonus material, unlike the #1 GRID foam roller, but you can find instructional videos online if you are unsure how best to use the roller.
One impressive feature of the ProSource foam roller is its warranty. While other models like the #1 GRID foam roller only come with a one-year warranty, the ProSource foam roller comes with a lifetime limited liability warranty. That’s an impressive warranty for this kind of exercise equipment. It will guarantee that no manufacturer defects will cause the foam roller from functioning properly.
It comes in four colors: black, blue, orange, and purple. Finding a color that suits you should not be too difficult. With an MSRP of $19.99, the ProSource is around $20 less expensive than the #1 GRID foam roller, depending on current discounts. If you are looking for a solid-core roller with plenty of density and massage potential, then the ProSource is a great option.
3. LuxFit Premium High-Density Foam Roller
The third foam roller on our list is made by LuxFit. This foam roller is a no-nonsense, simple roller without any added features, which keeps the price down. With a typical price on the 12-inch model of less than $10, it is easily the least expensive model on our list and might be just right for the person wanting to test out a foam roller before investing in a more expensive model.
This roller is constructed out of a single piece of high-density polypropylene foam. It is compacted down to 2 pounds per cubic foot to give the roller an extra firm feeling without being too hard. Whereas models like the #1 GRID foam roller come with ribs or grooves on the surface, the #3 LuxFit is a smooth, soft surface all the way around.
This allows the foam roller to glide more easily across just about any surface. The density is also high enough to give you the support you need while doing your exercises. Furthermore, it helps to repel moisture from being absorbed by the material, keeping it fresher longer.
Like the #2 ProSource foam roller, this model is 6 inches in diameter. It also comes in three different lengths: 12 inches, 18 inches, and 36 inches, so you can find the right size for your needs. While other models like the #1 GRID roller come in 5 different colors, the LuxFit only comes in black. So you can have it in any color you like, as long as it’s black!
LuxFit does not provide any instructional DVDs or online videos, but this foam roller does come with a one-year limited liability warranty. While this is not as long as the lifetime warranty of the #2 ProSource, one year is typically more than enough time to discover any manufacturer errors that lead to defects.
If you are looking for a very simple, straightforward, and inexpensive foam roller, then the LuxFit Premium High-Density Foam Roller is a great choice.
4. OPTP PRO-ROLLER Soft-Density Foam Roller
The OPTP PRO-ROLLER comes in at #4 on our list. While models like the #3 LuxFit have a very high density, the OPTP PRO-ROLLER is comparatively soft. For this reason, the OPTP PRO-ROLLER might be a better option for beginners concerned with the firmness and high density of other models.
The OPTP PRO-ROLLER is constructed from two pieces of EVA foam that are heat-sealed. This dual layer construction makes the OPTP PRO-ROLLER slightly less durable than models like the #3 LuxFit foam roller, which is made from a single piece of foam. That is because, with increased use, there is a higher chance of the two pieces coming apart.
If you are somewhat heavier or will be putting a lot of pressure on your foam roller, you may want to consider models constructed of a single piece of foam. However, our research has not shown that the OPTP PRO-ROLLER has a high likelihood of coming apart.
This model comes in two basic lengths: 18 inches and 36 inches, both of which are 6 inches in diameter. This is compact enough for the foam roller to be travel-friendly and still effective for a good warm-up workout. While other models like the #3 LuxFit only come in black, the OPTP PRO-ROLLER comes in two bright colors, blue and pink, though we have found that the pricing tends to vary for the available colors.
Another possible downside to the OPTP PRO-ROLLER is its limited warranty. Whereas the #2 ProSource foam roller comes with a lifetime limited warranty, the OPTP PRO-ROLLER only comes with a 30-day guarantee. This may not provide much comfort for those concerned about the longevity of their foam roller.
The MSRP for the OPTP PRO-ROLLER ranges from $20 to $50, depending on the color and length options you like best. So the OPTP PRO-ROLLER is around $10 more on average than the #3 LuxFit. However, with this model, you do get a softer density and brighter colors.
If you’re looking for a simple foam roller which is soft on the density scale, but still firm with a smooth texture, then the OPTP PRO-ROLLER is a good choice.
5. Gaiam Foam Roller
Number 5 on our list is the foam roller by Gaiam. This foam roller is the softest on our list, due to its polyethylene foam rather than the more typical EVA foam of models like the #1 GRID roller. This soft density would make a good option for beginners who are not quite used to the hardness of the denser foam rollers. This foam material provides plenty of cushioning, while at the same time retaining its shape throughout multiple uses.
The Gaiam foam roller comes in only one size: 36 inches. So while you get more size options with models like the #1 GRID foam roller, the Gaiam foam roller is good for full-body workouts. It will be difficult to isolate particular body parts with this model, but with a little maneuvering, it can be accomplished.
This model also comes with a nice bonus instructional DVD. This 25-minute workout will teach you how to get the most out of the foam roller. This also makes the Gaiam foam roller a great option for beginners. Not only do you get a good, low-density roller, you also get a step-by-step guide on how to use it.
Unfortunately, this model does not come with much of a warranty. While models like the #2 ProSource come with a lifetime warranty, the Gaiam foam roller only comes with a 60-day return policy. If you are concerned about the longevity of your foam roller, then you might consider a model with a longer warranty. However, since this is a single piece of foam, the likelihood that there are manufacturing errors is fairly low.
As for the price, the Gaiam foam roller is around $10 more expensive than the #4 OPTP PRO-ROLLER, the other soft-density roller. But the added DVD bonus may be worth a few extra dollars for you. If you’re looking for a quality beginner’s model, then the Gaiam foam roller is one you should definitely consider.
So there you have our top 5 foam rollers of 2017. If you’re looking for the best on the market and price is no obstacle, then the #1 TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller is what you’re looking for. If you like the ribbed design of the GRID roller, but the price is a little too much, you can save a few dollars and go with the #2 ProSource model.
This roller will be a little more difficult to move on certain floors, but it comes with a lifetime guarantee and has a solid, dense core.
For those looking for a simpler approach, it doesn’t get any simpler than the #3 LuxFit foam roller. This is a single roll of high-density foam for under $10. If you need a little more cushion than the stiffness of the LuxFit, then both the #4 OPTP PRO-ROLLER and the #5 Gaiam foam roller are worth considering. The OPTP PRO-ROLLER has a few more length options, but the Gaiam model comes with an instructional DVD.
With these five great options, we’re sure you’ll be able to find the foam roller to complement your workout perfectly.