The 8 Best Types of Foam Rollers to Buy in 2018

Ease muscle soreness with this workout must-have

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Recovery is just as important to athletes as the training process is, and there’s no greater tool (that’s portable, affordable, and necessary) than the foam roller for that. Perfect for kneading out sore muscles, cramps, and stiff joints, this handy personal massager comes in a variety of styles and can be used on basically any part of the body. Legs, back, hips, neck—you name it, you can roll it. Here we found the most popular kinds in the sports and fitness market so you don’t have to spend hours researching them yourself. Get ready to roll!

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: LuxFit Premium High Density Foam Roller

Whether you’re recovering from a sports injury and need to take your physical therapy efforts into your own hands at home, or simply want a foam roller to relieve tension post-workout, the LuxFit is ideal. For starters, it’s high density (made from molded polypropylene foam) so it won’t lose its shape, even if you use it all the time. It also repels liquids so if you’re rolling anywhere with water nearby, you don’t have to worry about it getting wet and soggy on you. And it’s available in three different sizes (6" x 36", 6" x 18", 6" x 12") and can be used to aid with core and spinal stabilization, balance, muscle re-education, and stamina, in addition to helping with aches and pains in the back. Another plus? It has a full one year warranty.

Best Grid: TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller

Have you ever been slightly confused about how to actually use a foam roller, or finding yourself questioning if you’re doing it right? You’re in luck, since the TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller comes with free online instructional videos showcasing best practices. That way you can watch as you roll to ensure you’re getting the best use of the tool. Some of the other benefits of this patented roller have to do with the design. It has a rigid hollow core, measures 13" x 5.5", and is constructed from quality materials that won’t break down. And with over 3,000 nearly 5-star reviews, it’s a fan favorite on Amazon, as well as a go-to roller amongst physical and massage therapists, coaches, trainers, and athletes for its GRID functionality. Unlike most flat foam rollers, this one has a multi-dimensional surface that’s meant to feel like a massage therapist’s hands. The GRID also helps improve oxygen flow and heal tissue.

Best For Physical Therapy: Rolling With It Foam Roller

This eco-friendly roller (that resists flaking and chipping) is great for physical therapy, self-massage, and myofascial release, but it’s also just as useful for pre-workout use as it is for post. By rolling before you hit the gym, you’ll warm up the muscles so you can put in more work, for a longer period of time later on. And if you’re used to doing high-impact routines (like Crossfit, bodybuilding, and weight training) you’ll want to make sure you’re rolling regularly to prevent injuries, not just treat them after they’ve occurred.

Best Half Roller: OPTP PRO-ROLLER Soft Density Foam Roller

If you prefer a stationary half roller instead of a full roller that moves with you, the OPTP will be a good fit. Constructed of a durable cross-linked, closed-cell foam, reviews praise it for having just the right amount of softness and firmness, and it has both flat and round sides for versatility in pilates, yoga, and stability exercises. One commenter also recommended using it on a bed when you’re dealing with any really tender spots, so it’s not as intense. It's great for anyone new to rolling, or anyone that needs a roller that’s not as hard and doesn’t hurt as much.

Best Stick: Original Tiger Tail Massage Stick

While standard (AKA thick and round) rollers are made for back rolling, a thinner stick version can be helpful for concentrating on smaller or more specific areas to reach knots, break them up, and reduce pain. This 18-inch massage stick (that’s also available in an 11-inch travel size as well as a longer 22-inch size) from Tiger Tail goes deep to relieve joint and muscle aches, and since it’s cushioned (not made of hard plastic), it won’t pinch your skin.

It’s also made of high-quality, non-absorbent, non-deteriorating closed cell foam that’s easy to clean and ergonomically designed so your fingers and hands won’t tire out, making pressure more consistent, all over. Recommended by physical therapists and chiropractors alike, this stick roller helps with muscle cramps, spasms, pain, and stiffness, and it also comes with a three-year warranty, should you have any issues with it down the line.

Best Vibrating: HyperIce Vyper

If you are serious about your workout, then you'll need a foam roller that can not only relieve sore muscles by rolling them out, but you'll also want something that vibrates to give you a double dose of relief. Used by top athletes like Blake Griffin, Lebron James, Steph Curry, and Lindsey Vonn, this roller means business. You use it the same as standard rollers, but you can choose from three different intensities of vibrations depending on your pain and threshold. The grid-like pattern will work its way into small muscles leaving you feeling stretched out and recovered.

While this model has a high price tag, reviewers (including many personal trainers and physical therapists) swear by this product. So if foam rolling is in your daily routine, this might be a wise investment.

Best for Cyclists: Kieba Massage Lacrosse Balls for Myofascial Release

These Kieba Massage Lacrosse Balls for Myofascial Release, Trigger Point Therapy, Muscle Knots, and Yoga Therapy are the perfect addition to your recovery routine. Each order comes with a set of two lacrosse balls, and you can purchase them in the following color combinations: red and blue, green and yellow, and orange.

You can use this tiny ball on your shoulders, neck, glutes, back and more. It's compact shape and size makes reaching smaller muscle groups easier than your typical foam roller.

Best for Shoulders: RumbleRoller Beastie Bar and Stands

Whether it’s lifting weights or a heavy moving box, your shoulders tend to carry a lot of stress, and with that comes muscle pain and the need for relief. To combat sore shoulders, try out the RumbleRoller Beastie Bar and Stands. This funky looking wand features two “Beasties,” which are spiky foam massage balls. Using these helps target small pressure points to relieve areas like your shoulders and neck.

The stands are detachable, so you can remove the massage balls and simply roll them to get out knots in your body. Reviewers confirm that the massage balls are firm and versatile, so you can use them to ease tension all over. Each one has 60 “firm, high-profile bumps” to ensure that your recovery technique is as effective as possible. This product is available in one size and one color combination, gray and green.

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