Best Foam Rollers for 2023

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$25 at Gaiam

Gaiam Restore Muscle Therapy Foam Roller

Gaiam Restore Muscle Therapy Foam Roller

Best foam roller for beginners

$19 at Amazon

Amazon Basics High-Density Round Foam Roller for Exercise, Massage, Muscle Recovery

Amazon Basics High-Density Round Foam Roller for Exercise, Massage, Muscle Recovery

Most affordable foam roller

$19 at Amazon

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$50 at Mobot

Grace Mobot

Grace MOBOT 27 OZ Foam Roller

Best foam roller for travel

$35 at Walmart

Triggerpoint GRID Patented Multi-Density Foam Massage Roller

TriggerPoint GRID Patented Multi-Density Foam Massage Roller (Back, Body, Legs) for Exercise

Best foam roller for legs

$35 at Walmart

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Foam rolling is an effective way to massage tight and sore muscles before and after a workout. Although it’s unclear how foam rolling works exactly, research shows that it’s most effective to foam roll before a workout as part of a warm-up to increase flexibility and to relieve muscle soreness post-workout.

I’ve mainly used foam rolling as a way to loosen up a tight back before a workout, massage my calves and quads after a run or as a way to unwind after a day of traveling. Foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial therapy and most people like it because it’s an inexpensive recovery option. Many popular brands make foam rollers and some now even offer unique features. If you’re looking to purchase a foam roller, but don’t know where to begin, we’re here to help. We tested various foam rollers and narrowed down our favorites based on their design, efficiency and experience. Take a look at our top picks below. 

Read moreThese Percussive Massage Guns Can Get Rid of Any Muscle Knot

Best Foam Rollers

Gaiam Restore Muscle Therapy Foam Roller

Giselle Castro-Sloboda/ CNET

One thing that can be intimidating about foam rollers is their different ridges and groove patterns. Beginners will feel comfortable with the Gaiam Restore Muscle Therapy foam roller because it’s on the semi-firm side and looks less complicated than some of its competitors. It’s smooth and made of lightweight recyclable foam. At 18 inches long, it won’t take up much space. 

This is a good option for anyone new to foam rolling or anyone who wants a less-firm foam roller. It also comes with a guide that teaches you different foam rolling techniques if you have no idea where to begin. The downside is that it doesn’t feel durable. Athletes who want a deeper and firmer massage may find it lacking because of its design and may prefer one of the heavy-duty foam rollers on the list instead.
But if you’re just starting out and want an affordable option, the Gaiam Restore Muscle Therapy foam roller is a good introduction to self-myofascial massage.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Semi-firm and lightweight
  • Made of recyclable materials

Cons: 

  • May be too soft for some users
  • Roller looks less durable compared to others on the list

Amazon Basics High-Density Round Foam Roller for Exercise, Massage, Muscle Recovery

Giselle Castro-Sloboda/ CNET

If you’re looking for a full-size foam roller that’s inexpensive, you’ll want to consider Amazon’s High Density Round Foam Roller. This foam roller comes in three different sizes: 18 inches, 24 inches and 36 inches. I chose 24 inches because it was an in-between size and is long enough to cover more area. It’s on the firm side, but not so firm that it would be uncomfortable for the average user. It’s smooth all around and looks like the traditional type of roller you’d find at the gym in the stretching section. It’s versatile enough to use on your back, legs, quads and glutes. Some may like this roller for everyday use, but others may prefer something firmer after a hard workout. 

I was able to keep it in a corner without it interfering with space, but you can go with the smaller size if you find this one too long. The good thing is that it’s affordable. The 24-inch version is only $16, while the 18-inch is $14 and the 36-inch is $20. No matter which one you select, you’re getting a good deal. 

Pros:

  • Most affordable foam roller on the list
  • Versatile for foam rolling different areas
  • Comes in various sizes

Cons:

  • It’s a basic foam roller without any unique features
  • Athletes may prefer something more heavy duty

Amazon Basics High-Density Round Foam Roller for Exercise and Recovery – 36 Inch, Black

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hyperice vyper go

Giselle Castro-Sloboda/ CNET

Hyperice’s Vyper Go, which vibrates at different speeds, adds a spin to the traditional foam roller. If you’re a fan of massage guns, this might be a good option since it combines both types of muscle relief in one product: vibration and foam rolling. Hyperice also offers the Vyper 3, which is the larger version. Personally, I prefer the Vyper Go since the level of vibration seemed more than sufficient. The Vyper Go is also travel-size and TSA-approved so you can take it on your next trip. 

Instead of a one-dimensional round foam roller, this one is designed with curves that are intended to fit the body’s shape. It’s made of an eco-friendly polypropylene material and only weighs 2 pounds. 

Its vibration has three speeds. I found the first speed to be plenty powerful, but you can use the other two speeds to increase the level of vibration and get into the spots that a regular foam roller can’t reach. It also has a 2-hour battery life and can be easily recharged with the plug-in adapter that’s included.  

A vibrating foam roller is a personal preference, and I can see some people being intimidated by such a high-tech roller or not wanting to spend the money. But some athletes may opt for a more advanced recovery product that offers extra muscle soreness relief, especially if they can take it with them on the road. The Vyper Go is expensive, so make sure it’s the right fit for you before purchasing.

Pros:

  • Vibration allows deeper massage
  • It’s small enough for travel
  • Curve design contours well with the body

Cons: 

  • Expensive
  • Vibration not necessary for everyone

lululemon double roller

Giselle Castro-Sloboda/ CNET

The Lululemon Double Roller is a great option if you’re looking for a roller that’s multipurpose and neatly stores away. The double roller has a roller within a roller, with each one serving a different purpose. The exterior roller is on the softer side and meant to target your arms and legs, while the interior roller is firmer and meant to target your back. The exterior foam roller has wave-like grooves while the interior roller has a more curved textured design. This makes it easier to get a deeper massage and target tight muscles compared to an all-around smooth roller. 

This foam roller is 20 inches long, so it doesn’t take up much room. It’s firm, but not to the point where it’s uncomfortable. I found the interior roller targeted my whole back better than I expected and even got into the areas around my trap muscles that I couldn’t get into with the smoother foam rollers. Although it’s higher in price point, this foam roller is a good option if you want a reliable 2-in-1 option that targets your full body. 

Pros:

  • 2-in-1 foam roller
  • Different textures allow for a deeper massage
  • Appropriate for full body

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Some users may not like storage design

roll recovery R4

Giselle Castro-Sloboda/ CNET

If you tend to deal with tension in your upper back and neck area, then you’ll find relief with the Roll Recovery R4 foam roller. This foam roller is 18 inches long and made up of a high-density EVA foam. It’s thicker than the other foam rollers tested and has a diamond-shaped pattern across the surface, including a deep contoured groove in the center that’s intended to fit with your spine and neck as well as your IT band and Achilles tendon. 

For a thick foam roller that weighs 2.6 pounds, it doesn’t feel heavy and it’s intuitive to use. Although I tried it on my legs and IT band, I particularly enjoyed the way it felt on my back and neck because it seemed to be perfectly aligned with the areas I was trying to target. The only thing I didn’t enjoy about this foam roller was the sound from the plastic design on the hollow inside when in use. It feels sturdy, but the sound makes you think it’s about to collapse beneath you. Another aspect I found a nuisance was how it got dirty and needed to be wiped down after every use — but that isn’t the worst idea anyway. Despite those factors, the foam roller still functioned the way it promised and is a solid pick. 

Pros:

  • Designed to fit the contours of your spine and other parts of your body
  • It’s firm so you can achieve a deeper massage

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Plastic interior makes sounds when in use
  • Collects dirt easily

Grace Mobot

Giselle Castro-Sloboda/ CNET

If you want an easy option to foam roll while traveling, then the Grace Mobot Foam Roller is the way to go. This foam roller is unique because it also serves as a water bottle, so you can carry your favorite beverage in the recycled stainless steel bottle and use it for muscle relief just about anywhere. This is a fun foam roller that comes in different colors and patterns and is made with EVA foam. It weighs under 2 pounds so it isn’t heavy to carry around. Although this foam roller is one of the smallest on the list, the texture consists of many elevated bumps and grooves to dig into knotted areas. It’s a quick way to relieve muscles while commuting, traveling or even at the gym.

It’s firmer than I would prefer, so it doesn’t feel as good on my back, but I would recommend using it on your legs. If you prefer a foam roller to cover greater areas of your body, then I suggest one of the other larger rollers on the list. It’s helpful to note that the best way to keep the water bottle function of the Mobot in tip-top shape is to hand wash it. Don’t be surprised if you get impressed looks and compliments when sporting this bottle. 

Pros:

  • Portable
  • Firm roller
  • Can be used as a water bottle

Cons: 

  • Some people may find it too small
  • Expensive

Triggerpoint GRID Patented Multi-Density Foam Massage Roller

Giselle Castro-Sloboda/ CNET

I’ve been a long-time user of TriggerPoint’s GRID Patented Multi-Density Foam Massage Roller and find that despite its small size, it’s a solid piece of equipment. At 13 inches long, it functions just like any of the bigger foam rollers. It’s made up of a firm multidensity EVA foam and the surface pattern is designed like a grid so it’s ideal for rolling out tight muscles and knots. 

It’s no surprise that TriggerPoint’s foam rollers are considered the gold standard by professionals and physical therapists. This foam roller is durable and does a good job relieving aches and pains. I’ve relied on it after running because the surface can really dig into the calves, quads and even the glutes. I’ve also used it on my back on days I need a quick massage or after a day of traveling. It’s on the firm side, but I appreciate that it’s not too firm that it feels painful. However, if you want something softer, you’re better off using a foam roller like the Gaiam Restore to ease yourself into the practice of foam rolling.

I can also attest that this foam roller is durable. I’ve had mine for over five years now and it has yet to show signs of wear and tear. If you find this foam roller to be too small, you can always upgrade to the Grid 2.0, which is 26 inches long, or the Core Roller, which comes in 12, 18 and 36 inches. 

Pros:

  • Small
  • Grid-like surface is well designed
  • Durable

Cons: 

  • Might be too firm for some users
  • Some users will prefer a longer foam roller

TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller for Exercise, Deep Tissue Massage and Muscle Recovery, Original (13-Inch), Pink

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Other foam rollers we tested

Hyperice Vyper 3: I found the larger version of the Hyperice Vyper Go to be more intense than I would like for a vibrating foam roller. Once you turn it on, it starts to vibrate and roam all over the place. The Vyper Go incorporates vibration in a reasonable manner. 

How we tested

Design: We observed the design of the foam roller and how it was manufactured to help target certain muscle groups. We also looked at the size and quality of the material. 

Experience: While using the foam roller, we determined if it functioned as promised and if there was any room for improvement. We tested the foam rollers to determine how they might benefit certain users and not others. 

Versatility: We observed them to see if any foam rollers had multiple functions or purposes. 

Factors to consider

  • Decide how much you’re willing to spend and if you want any unique features. The most basic foam rollers can be inexpensive, while those with extras cost more.
  • Determine if you’ll be using a foam roller to coincide with your workouts or everyday aches and pains.
  • If you have certain areas that tend to get tighter than others, research foam rollers that specialize in those areas.
  • Foam rollers come in different types of firmness so decide if you want it to be extra firm, semi-firm or on the softer side.

FAQs

How long should you foam roll?

Is it safe to foam roll every day?

Yes, it’s safe to foam roll every day since it increases blood flow and range of motion, which is helpful as part of a warm-up before your workout. 

Is foam rolling better than stretching?

There isn’t one method that’s better than the other. You can foam roll to help your range of motion, which can be beneficial during stretching. 

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