The Best Exercise Balls, Recommended and Tested by Experts in Our Lab

The Epitomie Fitness Exercise Ball has everything you need for a great workout

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

exercise balls test

Tamara Staples / Verywell Fit

An exercise ball—sometimes referred to as a stability ball or Swiss ball—is a classic piece of fitness equipment you can find in nearly every gym setting as well as Pilates and yoga studios, and HIIT classes. Traditionally made with PVC, exercise balls can be easily inflated with either a hand or foot pump and used to supplement bodyweight workouts or improve posture and balance by using one in place of your desk chair.

Reviewed & Approved

The Epitomie Fitness Active Balance Exercise Ball was an easy choice for our best overall pick for its included resistance bands and e-book for a complete workout. To add a budget-friendly exercise ball to your workouts, the Wacces Fitness and Exercise Ball is a great pick.

Brittni Johnson, CPI, certified Pilates instructor and SPRO for Club Pilates GO, explains that exercise balls are a valuable investment if you’re trying to upgrade your go-to exercises. “They’re portable, lightweight, and an inexpensive way to mix up your regular routine,” she says. Thanks to their ability to be deflated and inflated pretty seamlessly, they are perfect to bring on vacation for an on-the-go workout.

We purchased 16 exercise balls to evaluate in The Verywell Testing Lab. Over the course of 48 hours, six testers completed a variety of exercises with the exercise balls and rated them on a scale from 1 to 5 based on their quality, versatility, comfort, portability, and overall value. 

Based on our test, these are the best exercise balls on the market.

Best Overall: Epitomie Fitness Active Balance Exercise Ball

4.8
Active Balance Exercise Ball

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Quality
    5/5
  • Versatility
    5/5
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Portability
    4/5
  • Overall Value
    5/5
Pros
  • Multiple accessories included

  • Ball and accessories are durable

  • Affordable

Cons
  • Must download exercise guide

What do buyers say? 92% of 3,600+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

Out of the 16 exercise balls we tested, the Epitomie Fitness Active Balance Exercise Ball was the only one that included resistance bands—a detail that set it apart from the rest and one of many reasons we named it our best overall pick. Our tester found that the ball lived up to its product description, and the resistance bands—which came in light, medium, and heavy—were durable and easy to use.

Since the ball itself is made with high-quality PVC material, it was comfortable to use, which is why it received a score of 5 out of 5 for comfort. And thanks to a slightly textured surface, we found that it had a good amount of traction and grip even while performing exercises with wet hands and legs to mimic sweat. Another beneficial feature is its anti-burst design (meaning that if a puncture occurs, it will deflate slowly to minimize the chance of injury). 

When we opened the box, we found a hand pump that was fairly easy to use. In addition to the pump and the resistance bands mentioned above, a helpful exercise guide was also included (although our tester noted that it needs to be downloaded before viewing, which can be a little tedious). With that said, we thought that the guide was beneficial for both beginners and advanced users, unlike some guides that just cover the basics. 

Height Range: 55-75 centimeters (22–30 inches) | Color Options: Two | Anti-burst Capacity: Not listed | Weight Capacity: 500 pounds | Accessories Included: Hand pump, extra plugs, plug remover, resistance bands, access to E-book

exercise balls test

Verywell Fit / Tamara Staples

What Our Testers Say

“I was pretty impressed by this ball because it scored high in terms of versatility and comfort even though it was fairly budget-friendly. Accessing the E-book isn’t all that easy because it needs to be downloaded, but because the ball comes with resistance bands and thorough instructions, there was no doubt in my mind that it was going to be a top-performer,” Isabella Broggini, NASM-CPT, Senior Commerce Editor, certified personal trainer, and product tester.

Best Budget: Wacces Fitness And Exercise Ball

4.1
Wacces Fitness And Exercise Ball
Our Ratings
  • Quality
    4.5/5
  • Versatility
    4/5
  • Comfort
    4/5
  • Portability
    4/5
  • Overall Value
    4/5
Pros
  • Made with eco-friendly rubber

  • Basic instructions included

  • Hand pump included

Cons
  • Few sizes offered

  • Slick surface when wet

When you’re unfamiliar with a piece of exercise equipment, it isn’t easy to know if it’s going to work well in your typical routine. But thanks to the affordability of the Wacces Fitness and Exercise Ball, our team of testers agreed that it was a great ball for experimenting without a hefty financial commitment. 

When performing the exercises in our Lab, we found that we were able to incorporate the ball into upper and lower body moves, a simple stretching routine, and some higher-intensity core exercises. Our tester also said that the durable PVC exterior was likely to hold up to continued use, which is why we gave the ball a score of 4.5 out of 5 for quality. 

Even though the surface of the ball felt comfortable throughout all of our moves, our tester did slip a little when completing exercises with wet legs and arms during the wet test—this is why it only received a 4 out of 5 for comfort. But because the ball does have a decent amount of grip and comes with a handy workout guide, we are confident that it’s a great pick for people of any experience level looking for an affordable product. 

Height Range: 55-65 centimeters (22-26 inches) | Color Options: Six | Anti-burst Capacity: 2,000 pounds | Weight Capacity: Not listed | Accessories Included: Hand pump, extra plugs, plug remover

exercise balls test

Verywell Fit / Tamara Staples

What Our Testers Say

“This ball is a classic exercise ball that would be perfect for beginners since it’s super affordable. That way, they can try to incorporate an exercise ball into their workout routine without having to make a hefty investment. I will say that it was a little slippery when I tested the ball with wet skin, so that’s just something to be aware of if you live in a humid climate or you tend to sweat a lot when exercising,” Jonathan Valdez, ACE-CPT, Verywell Fit wellness review board member, personal trainer, and product tester.

Best Splurge: Power Systems ProElite Stability Ball

4.2
ProElite Stability Ball

Courtesy of Power Systems

Our Ratings
  • Quality
    4.5/5
  • Versatility
    4/5
  • Comfort
    4.5/5
  • Portability
    4/5
  • Overall Value
    4/5
Pros
  • Thick, durable wall

  • Good for indoor and outdoor workouts

  • Textured surface for grip

Cons
  • Better for advanced users

  • Expensive

Unlike some pieces of exercise equipment like home gyms, rowing machines, and indoor bikes, exercise balls are on the more affordable end of the scale. And although the PowerSystems ProElite Stability Ball is priced higher than the other exercise balls we tested, we think it’s worth the extra dollar, thanks to its incredible durability. 

The PowerSystems ball was the only ball we purchased that featured a raised dimple design that covered the entire surface. This gave it extraordinary grip that offered our tester total control of her movements, even when performing exercises with wet hands, wet arms, and wet legs. For this reason, it received a high score of 4.5 in both the quality and comfort categories. It also has a thick wall that makes it a great pick for both indoor and outdoor use. 

We love that the ball is designed to deflate gradually—an essential safety measure in the unlikely event that the ball gets punctured when you have your full body weight on it. However, when we intentionally deflated the ball after our testing period, we found that it deflates pretty quickly, which is helpful when you need to store it quickly and efficiently.

Height Range: 55–65 centimeters (22–26 inches) | Color Options: One | Anti-burst Capacity: 1,130 pounds | Weight Capacity: 600 pounds | Accessories Included: Extra plugs, plug remover,  paper measuring tape

exercise balls test

Verywell Fit / Tamara Staples

What Our Testers Say

“I knew this ball was different from most just by the look of it since it’s covered in little raised dots. Because of this, I thought it might be rough on my skin, but I was pleasantly surprised to feel how comfortable it was when I was using it. It’s a bit out of my price range, but because it can be used indoors and outdoors (and knowing how durable it is) I can see it being good for an advanced user who’s really ready to invest,” Megan Foster, Verywell Commerce Writer and product tester.

Most Comfortable: BalanceFrom Anti-Burst Exercise Ball

4.2
BalanceFrom Anti-Burst Exercise Ball

Courtesy of Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Quality
    4/5
  • Versatility
    4/5
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Portability
    4/5
  • Overall Value
    4/5
Pros
  • Affordable

  • Multiple color and size options

  • 2-year warranty

Cons
  • Pump lacks durability

  • Texture doesn’t offer much grip

It goes without saying that a comfortable piece of exercise equipment will be used more often than one that causes any sort of discomfort. And when we completed our set of exercises with the BalanceFrom Anti-Burst Exercise Ball, it scored a 5 out of 5 for comfort, thanks to the soft exterior that didn’t tug on or rub our skin.

With a thick, durable wall, this exercise ball is designed to withstand up to 2,000 pounds of pressure without bursting. But despite the durable exterior, our tester said that the ball didn’t feel too rigid or hard, which made completing the predetermined set of exercises more comfortable. 

When unboxing the exercise ball, everything looked of quality and as described in the manufacturer’s product description. Unfortunately, when our tester used the pump that came with the ball, she explained that it felt flimsy and poorly made, which is why we gave this set a 4 out of 5 instead of a perfect score for quality. However, we were pleased to discover a useful size chart on the product page to help users choose the right size ball. 

We found the ball and its accompanying pump to be of slightly lesser quality than others on this list (which is to be expected due to its lower price) but it’s backed by a forgiving two-year warranty—offering 100 percent satisfaction guaranteed if the exercise ball doesn’t live up to your expectations.

Height Range: 38–85 centimeters (14–33 inches) | Color Options: Seven | Anti-burst Capacity: 2,000 pounds | Weight Capacity: Not listed | Accessories Included: Foot pump, extra plugs, plug removers, paper measuring tape

exercise ball test

Verywell Fit / Tamara Staples

What Our Testers Say

“I’ll be completely honest. I’m not a fan of using a foot pump and this ball came with a foot pump. So instead of pressing down the pump with my foot, I used my hands which made it easier. The ball itself is great in terms of quality even though the foot pump appeared flimsy. But for the price, I could easily buy another pump to use with the ball instead,” Megan Foster, Verywell Commerce Writer and product tester.

Most Durable: Trideer Exercise Ball

4.3
Trideer Exercise Ball

Courtesy of Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Quality
    4.5/5
  • Versatility
    4/5
  • Comfort
    4.5/5
  • Portability
    4/5
  • Overall Value
    4.5/5
Pros
  • High anti-burst capacity

  • Non-slip surface

  • Thick wall made with durable PVC

Cons
  • Pump lacks durability

  • Wait 24 hours after initial inflation to inflate to full capacity

From the moment we unboxed the Trideer Exercise Ball, we could tell it was a high-quality ball, thanks to the heavy-duty PVC exterior. The box also included a foot pump, a paper measuring tape, plugs to keep the ball inflated, and a plug remover—all of which matched the product description accurately. For this reason we gave the Trideer ball a 4.5 on the quality scale. 

Unlike some balls that appear sticky or slick, we like that the Trideer ball has a semi-matte texture that offers a decent amount of grip. Our tester noticed that the texture made the ball more comfortable to use as it didn’t irritate skin or catch on her leggings. For these reasons alone, the ball would have scored a 5 out of 5 for comfort. However, a bit of slipping occurred when we tested the ball with wet legs and arms to simulate sweat—so we ended up giving it a 4.5 for comfort instead. 

Although the ball’s material didn’t feel too rough on our skin, it still appeared durable and able to withstand lots of use. While performing moves like wall squats, v-passes, and decline pushups, our tester felt safe and noted that she had total control of the ball.

Height Range: 38–85 centimeters (14–33 inches) | Color Options: Six | Anti-burst Capacity: 2,200 pounds | Weight Capacity: Not listed | Accessories Included: Foot pump, extra plugs, plug remover, paper measuring tape

exercise balls test

Verywell Fit / Tamara Staples

What Our Testers Say

“One of the first things I noticed about this ball is that it has a thick and durable wall. While most PVC balls say they’re anti-burst, some feel flimsier, but when I was using this one it was evident that it would hold up well. Since I’m not an avid user of exercise balls, an instruction guide would have been helpful. But it wasn’t too complicated to search up some easy workouts online,” Megan Foster, Verywell Commerce Writer and product tester.

Best Chair: Gaiam Ultimate Balance Ball Chair

3.8
Gaiam Ultimate Balance Ball Chair

Courtesy of Gaiam

Our Ratings
  • Quality
    4/5
  • Versatility
    4.5/5
  • Comfort
    4.5/5
  • Portability
    2/5
  • Overall Value
    4/5
Pros
  • Wheels offer smooth movement

  • Ball is removable

  • Includes chair workout guide

Cons
  • Heavy and not very portable

  • Set-up may be complicated

  • Expensive

In addition to being an effective fitness accessory, some exercise balls also make a great alternative to an office or home desk chair. The Gaiam Ultimate Balance Ball Chair acts as both—featuring a removable ball for a variety of workouts and a chair base for sitting and stability exercises. 

While the chair base is a unique addition to the set, our tester noted that the ball alone featured a classic exercise ball design. The PVC construction makes it durable and resistant to bursting, and for that reason, we gave it a 4 out of 5 for quality. Our tester also found the ball to be extremely comfortable and he felt confident sitting on it when it was positioned in its chair base. 

When the ball was removed from its base, we were pleased to see that it worked just as well as a classic exercise ball, and our tester had no trouble performing all predetermined exercises with it. However, he noted that if the ball was inflated to full capacity, it wouldn’t sit comfortably in the chair base (a characteristic worth paying attention to depending on how you plan on using it).

Height Range: One size; 52 centimeters (20 inches) | Color Options: One | Anti-burst Capacity: Not listed | Weight Capacity: 300 pounds (with chair) | Accessories Included: Hand pump, extra plugs, plug removers, chair, exercise guide

What Our Testers Say

“Because the ball can actually be removed from the chair, I think that the versatility is great. Alone, the ball is easy to use and it even comes with a small instruction guide. I will say that I slipped a bit when the ball was wet, but I still felt safe. When used as a chair it worked well, and I like that this product combines the features of a chair and exercise equipment—perfect for a minimalist lifestyle,” Jonathan Valdez, ACE-CPT, Verywell Fit wellness review board member, personal trainer, and product tester.

exercise balls test

Verywell Fit / Tamara Staples

Best Half Ball: Sportneer Half Balance Ball

4.5
Sportneer Half Balance Ball

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Quality
    5/5
  • Versatility
    4/5
  • Comfort
    4.5/5
  • Portability
    3/5
  • Overall Value
    4/5
Pros
  • Durable, non-slip base

  • Includes resistance bands with handles

  • Thick wall

Cons
  • Not very portable

  • Ball surface is slippery

Half exercise balls, also known as Bosu balls, are ideal for balance training and stability exercises. Instead of looking like a sphere, half balls—like the Sportneer Half Balance Ball—look like an exercise ball cut in half and placed on top of a solid, flat platform. 

When unboxing, we found the ball to be one of the higher-quality options we tested, thanks to its thick wall and durable base. Despite the slightly-slick PVC material, we still gave the ball a perfect score for quality, thanks to other features like ribbed lines for traction and non-skid feet on the base to prevent it from sliding. 

The ball ships with a foot pump and a pair of resistance bands. Pumping up the ball was a little complicated, according to our tester, since the air hole is situated inside the middle of its base. Additionally, the bulkiness of the ball is why it was rated lower than the other exercises balls for portability.

We found the resistance bands that came with the ball to be an attractive addition to the set and our tester was able to use them for upper body exercises, like curls and presses. The bands also helped her stabalize her body and balance on the ball while working her core and doing squats. Another cool feature is that the ball can be turned over (so that the base faces toward the ceiling)—offering our tester a dynamic way to perform both pushups and squats. 

Height Range: One size; 19 centimeters (7.5 inches) | Color Options: Three | Anti-burst Capacity: Not listed | Weight Capacity: 300 pounds | Accessories Included: Foot pump, extra plugs, plug removers, resistance bands with handles

exercise balls test

Verywell Fit / Tamara Staples

What Our Testers Say

“This ball is entirely different from most since it has a half-sphere shape instead of a full sphere. However, I actually liked it more because I use balance balls for stability exercises more than strength training. I’ve also tested a bunch of resistance bands and found that the ones included with the Sportneer ball are both durable and easy to use," Megan Foster, Verywell Commerce Writer and product tester.

Best Mini: ProBody Pilates Mini Exercise Ball

4.3
ProBody Pilates Mini Exercise Ball

Courtesy of Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Quality
    4/5
  • Versatility
    4/5
  • Comfort
    4/5
  • Portability
    5/5
  • Overall Value
    4.5/5
Pros
  • Comes with helpful guide

  • Very portable

  • Non-slip surface

Cons
  • Must inflate with mouth tube

  • Thin wall prone to bursting

When we ordered all of the exercise balls for testing, we made sure to get the same size for each ball to be as fair as possible in our evaluation. The ProBody Pilates Mini Exercise Ball was the exception. While it still falls under the “exercise balls” category, this ball measures just 23 centimeters when fully inflated—a contrast to the 65-centimeter height of traditional exercise balls. 

We weren’t able to put our whole body weight on the ball, but it worked perfectly for moves like clamshells, Russian twists, and traditional mat Pilates moves. And thanks to the ball’s lighter weight and soft disposition, we gave it a perfect score for portability. 

The ProBody Pilates mini Exercise Ball did not come with a hand or foot pump for inflation. Instead, the bag included a couple of straws for manual inflation and it only took our tester about 20 seconds to inflate using her mouth. We also appreciate that it comes with a 90-day warranty to cover any quality assurance issues.

Height Range: One size; 23 centimeters (9 inches) | Color Options: Nine | Anti-burst Capacity: Not applicable | Weight Capacity: Not applicable | Accessories Included: Inflation straw (instead of a pump), extra plugs, plug removers, exercise guide

exercise balls test

Verywell Fit / Tamara Staples

What Our Testers Say

“In addition to being super cute and portable, this ball was actually really useful! I couldn’t use it in any way where I’d place my full body weight on the ball, but it was helpful for some Pilates movements in addition to stretching, clamshells, and even Russian twists,” Megan Foster, Verywell Commerce Writer and product tester.

Best For Beginners: GoFit Pro Grade Stability Ball

4.2
GoFit Pro Grade Stability Ball
Our Ratings
  • Quality
    4/5
  • Versatility
    4/5
  • Comfort
    4.5/5
  • Portability
    4/5
  • Overall Value
    4.5/5
Pros
  • Includes helpful workout guide

  • Workout suggestions on ball surface

Cons
  • May not be perfectly spherical

  • Pump malfunctioned

A beginner-friendly piece of fitness equipment is necessary if you’re trying it out for the first time. And our testers found that, thanks to the classic design and helpful workout materials included, the GoFit Pro Grade Stability Ball is an awesome option for beginners. 

We ordered the ball in the 65-centimeter size (it also comes in 55- and 75-centimeter options) and loved that it was comfortable to use for everything from v-passes to jackknifes. Our tester said that it slipped a bit when she performed exercises with wet hands and legs, but that it didn’t cause her any discomfort or concern for her safety. For this reason, it scored a 4.5 out of 5 for comfort. 

The ball features illustrations of exercises spanning its circumference that are helpful to guide you through some basic exercise ball moves. We appreciated this because it eliminates the need to carry around an instructional booklet if you’re unfamiliar with simple moves. But one of the main reasons the GoFit ball scored a 4.5 for overall quality is because it includes a training DVD and manual which offered more instruction than all of the other balls we tested in the Verywell Testing Lab.

Height Range: 55-75 centimeters (22-30 inches) | Color Options: Three | Anti-burst Capacity: 2,000 pounds | Weight Capacity: Not listed | Accessories Included: Foot pump, extra plugs, plug remover, paper measuring tape, DVD exercise guide

exercise balls test

Verywell Fit / Tamara Staples

What Our Testers Say

“Whether I was doing core exercises or stability training, I found this ball to be durable and easy to use. The foot pump that came with the exercise ball did break when I was using it which was definitely frustrating, but the ball is pretty traditional so I was able to use another pump to inflate it instead. Because of the instructions on the side of the ball, I’d say it’s a great pick for beginners who need a little more guidance,” —Isabella Broggini, NASM-CPT, Senior Commerce Editor, certified personal trainer, and product tester.

Final Verdict

Thanks to the overall comfort, included accessories, and affordability, we agree that the Epitomie Fitness Active Balance Exercise Ball (view at Amazon) is great for both beginners and experienced users. It features a non-slip surface that offers ample traction, even when used on wet skin, and the anti-burst design ensures it will hold up to high-intensity moves. The set also includes three resistance bands for a more dynamic, total-body workout. 

But if you’re new to using an exercise ball and want to see if it fits into your workout routine, the Wacces Fitness and Exercise Ball (view at Amazon) is a great choice based on its sheer affordability. And although the price may suggest otherwise, this ball is crafted with heavy-duty PVC that won’t wear with continued use. Another perk is that it ships with an instruction manual to guide you through your workouts.

exercise balls test

Verywell Fit / Tamara Staples

How We Tested the Exercise Balls

To narrow down the best exercise balls on the market, members of the Verywell editorial team spent 48 hours testing 16 exercise balls in The Verywell Testing Lab. The team of six testers included two certified personal trainers and a certified yoga instructor, ensuring expert input. Each ball was evaluated on four key attributes, including quality (initial impressions), versatility, comfort, portability, and overall value. 

On testing day, a questionnaire was released to our testers with guidelines for how to score each exercise ball according to each attribute—noting what a five looks like, what a four looks like, and so on. These scores were then averaged to create an overall average score for each product.

To evaluate each exercise ball, testers completed a set of traditional exercise ball moves, including jackknifes, v-passes, wall squats, decline pushups, and more to analyze the comfort, durability, and versatility of each ball. Because they are typically used in a different fashion, we tested mini balls slightly differently—using them for traditional mat moves like clamshells and Russian twists. The half balls we tested according to instructions included with the ball. For the chair balls, the testers were instructed to sit at a desk with the ball in addition to completing the predetermined exercises if the ball could be removed from the chair base. 

exercise ball test

Verywell Fit / Tamara Staples

Prior to putting each ball to the test, our testers weighed each ball in The Lab and measured their diameter, height, and circumference to make sure no ball measurement was widely off our expectations based on the manufacturer’s product description. We also took note of any smells or wear-and-tear upon unboxing each ball. 

In order to determine how the ball would hold up during sweaty workouts or in a humid environment, we performed a “wet test” in The Lab where we simulated sweat by spraying water on our bare hands and legs. We then performed the same exercise circuit to determine whether the grip or movement of the ball was altered at all by this increased wetness. If accessories were included with the exercise ball, they were tested for quality and value according to their intended use.

What to Look For in an Exercise Ball

Size

In order to get the most out of your exercise ball, you’ll want to make sure it’s the right size for you, based on your height. There are a couple of ways to figure out what size exercise ball is right for you. First, check to see if there’s a size chart included in the ball’s product description. If there is, use that chart to determine what size ball you should get. If there isn’t, the general size chart listed below is a good reference. Then, once you’ve received the ball, test it out to make sure it’s the right size for you. Typically, you’ll want to aim for your legs to be at a 90-degree angle when sitting on top of the ball.

A simple way to find out what size exercise ball you should be using is to simply sit down on one,” Johnson says. “While seated, you should be able to comfortably place both feet on the floor while maintaining your posture. Your knees should be resting at a 90-degree angle” If you can’t place your feet on the ground without sliding your hips forward, the ball is probably too big for you, Johnson says. And if your knees are hiked up toward your chest, the ball is probably too small for you.

A good rule of thumb:

  • 18 inches: 4-feet, 10-inches and below
  • 21 inches: 4-feet, 11-inches to 5-feet, 4-inches
  • 25 inches: 5-feet, 5-inches to 5-feet, 11-inches
  • 29 inches: 6-feet to 6-feet, 7-inches
  • 33 inches: 6-feet, 8-inches and above

Unfortunately, this rule of thumb won’t always hold true. Exercise balls from different brands may vary in thickness or firmness, and this can change which size is right for you. When in doubt, look for a brand-specific sizing chart. That should help you figure out exactly which size you should be buying.

exercise balls test

Verywell Fit / Tamara Staples

Materials

Most exercise balls, including the 16 we tested in the lab, are made with PVC (polyvinyl chloride)—a synthetic composition that is both flexible and durable. This makes the ball comfortable and safe to use even if someone's full body weight is resting on top of the ball.

The material is also considered "anti-burst" because rather than deflating in an instant if a puncture occurs, it will slowly lose air—making it safer to use.

Throughout our testing, we noticed that the "wall" of the ball was regularly noted in the product descriptions. This refers to the PVC exterior of the exercise ball. Some of the balls have a "thick" or "heavy-duty" wall which means that the ball won't be as flexible, but it may be more durable or less prone to accidental punctures.

Texture

Whether the ball is covered in ridges, dimples, or a rough pattern, a textured surface is beneficial for multiple reasons. First, it provides grip and traction to prevent slipping while in use. And if you’re prone to sweating or you live in a humid environment, this texture can give you more control of the exercises you’re performing. 

It also offers an element of safety—ensuring the ball doesn’t easily slip out from under you while you’re working out, stretching, or sitting at a desk.

Durability

Exercise balls are typically designed to be strong and durable. Pay attention to the ball’s weight capacity (make sure the ball is strong enough to support you and any weights you’re using), and look for the term “anti-burst.” This means the ball will deflate slowly instead of popping when it’s punctured.

The "wall" of the exercise ball references the outside of the ball that you touch (or sit on) when exercising. Although most exercise balls have a wall made of durable PVC material, not all walls are created equal. In this roundup, we prioritized exercise balls with walls made of material that felt both durable and comfortable.

Weight Capacity

Most exercise balls are durable and designed to withstand a decent amount of weight. However, it’s advisable to check the product description to make sure its “weight capacity” can comfortably accommodate your weight prior to purchasing the ball. 

If you look at the list above, you’ll notice that most balls have a very high “anti-burst capacity” (usually 2,000 pounds). This means that even if a puncture does occur, the ball won’t actually burst if it has a pressure of under 2,000 pounds. Instead, it will slowly deflate. 

exercise balls

Verywell Fit / Tamara Staples

Included Accessories

Without the exercise ball itself, you won’t reap the benefits that come with it. However, some accessories may help you make the most of your exercise ball. 

One of the most popular accessories you’ll find with an exercise ball is an instruction manual to guide you through workouts. Some include basic pamphlets with exercises for beginners, while others include access to online programs or workout videos that cater to a wide range of experience levels. 

Hand or foot pumps are other common accessories you’ll see paired with an exercise ball. In The Lab, we found that we preferred hand pumps because they’re more portable and generally easier (and faster) to use. However, a foot pump may be more beneficial for those who don’t have enough arm strength or dexterity to pump the ball with their hands. 

While not standard, you can also find exercise balls that come with other home gym equipment like resistance bands, jump ropes, or floor stabilizers.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you inflate an exercise ball?

    Many exercise balls ship with an air pump for inflation. If your exercise ball came without an air pump, consult the ball’s inflation directions. You may need to buy a separate air pump to fill it up.

  • Is sitting on an exercise ball good for your back?

    It’s unclear whether sitting on an exercise ball is good for your back. Some studies have found that sitting on an exercise ball can help improve posture and strengthen core muscles. But other studies found that sitting on an exercise ball doesn’t impact core strength at all. To put it simply, the jury’s still out on this one. So if you’re looking for ways to improve your posture, strengthen your core, or relieve back pain, consider talking to an expert who can make personalized recommendations about exercises you can try.

  • What can you do with an exercise ball?

    “There are endless exercises you can do with an exercise ball,” Johnson says. “The unstable platform creates a unique base to challenge overall balance, coordination, and stability.” Johnson says she loves to use an exercise ball during planks, either by elevating her forearms or her feet. “It fires up my core unlike any other ab exercise!” she says. You can also use an exercise ball to enhance classic bodyweight exercises, like squats and pikes. And you can use it to add a greater range of motion to your stretches.

exercise balls test

Verywell / Tamara Staples

Why Trust Verywell Fit

Megan Foster is a seasoned commerce writer and former college athlete. She prioritizes health and fitness in her daily life, and she’s always looking for new, reliable, and expert-backed fitness products to share with her readers. Megan has been using exercise balls for years, ad in the The Verywell Testing Lab, she carefully evaluated the durability and versatility of each ball.

Additional reporting by Lindsey Lanquist

As a seasoned health and fitness writer, Lindsey Lanquist understands how vital quality product recommendations can be. She is careful to recommend products that are reliable, comfortable, and genuinely well-reviewed by those who’ve tried them

5 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Jankowicz-Szymańska, Agnieszka & Mikołajczyk, Edyta. (2016). Do posture correction exercises have to be boring? Using unstable surfaces to prevent poor posture in children. Medical Studies. 2. 116-122. 10.5114/ms.2016.61099. 

  2. Titow MV. Pvc Technology. Springer Science & Business Media; 2012.

  3. Schult TM, Awosika ER, Schmunk SK, Hodgson MJ, Heymach BL & Parker CD. Sitting on stability balls: Biomechanics evaluation in a workplace setting. J Occup Environ Hyg (10:2; 2013). 55-63, DOI:10.1080/15459624.2012.748324.

  4. Elliott TLP, Marshall KS, Lake DA, Wofford NH, Davies GJ. The effect of sitting on stability balls on nonspecific lower back pain, disability, and core endurance: A randomized controlled crossover studySpine (Phila Pa 1976). 2016;41(18):E1074-E1080. doi:10.1097/BRS.0000000000001576

  5. Lowe BD, Swanson NG, Hudock SD, Lotz WG. Unstable sitting in the workplace—are there physical activity benefits? American Journal of Health Promotion. 2015;29(4):207-209. doi:10.4278/ajhp.140331-CIT-127

By Megan Foster
Megan is a freelance commerce writer and previously worked with BusinessInsider.com,TODAY.com, and NBCNews.com, in addition to other publications.She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado. She majored inpsychology and minored in business.She has written for Verywell Fit since April 2021.