Best massage roller

Fitness Equipment

Foam rollers can greatly benefit your body when used directly after a workout.

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Which massage rollers are best?

Having a warmup and post-workout routine is crucial when exercising. Warming up helps prepare the body for the workout and reduces the risk of injury, while post-workout exercises help reduce lactic acid buildup, stiffness and soreness. Massage rollers are a great tool to incorporate in a warmup and after a workout to help alleviate and loosen muscle groups. If you’re looking for a portable massage roller that will provide a deep tissue massage, the TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller is the top choice.  

What to know before you buy a massage roller

Size

If you want to carry your massage roller to the gym, it’s best to pick a model that’s small enough to fit in your gym bag. Common length sizes for foam models are 12 inches, 24 inches and 36 inches, where 12 inches and shorter models would be more suitable for portability. Smaller rollers are also useful when you want to apply pressure to a smaller or specific muscle. Massage roller sticks tend to be small enough to fit in gym bags as well, but they may not feel as effective as foam rollers, depending on preference and how you use it. Most foam rollers come with a diameter of around 6 inches,  which is the recommended size. Anything with a smaller diameter may be weaker and more prone to breakage or wear down quicker. 

Density

If you’re going with a foam massage roller, know that there are three density levels: Soft, firm and extra-firm. Soft is best if it’s your first time using a roller, or if you have bruises that are sensitive. Firm and extra-firm foam rollers are better for those who are experienced using rollers and need more deep penetration for their muscles. Be careful using firm and extra-firm foam rollers, as well as roller sticks on bruised areas as it can damage the bruise even worse.

Target areas

Massage rollers aren’t suitable for every part of the body. They’re mainly appropriate for applying to the leg and back areas such as the lower back, glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps and calves. It’s generally recommended that foam rollers shouldn’t be used on the chest, abdomen and arms. However, roller sticks may be more suitable for targeting those areas. 

What to look for in a quality massage roller

Bumps

Many massage rollers feature bumps or some type of textured surface that can improve the effectiveness of the massage. These bumps will be able to target small muscles and provide a deeper massage depending on the type of bump. 

Vibration

Vibration is more of a recent feature that has been introduced into massage rollers. Vibration capability allows the roller to vibrate while in use, giving pulsations to targeted areas, which can improve the intensity of the massage and leave your muscles feeling more relaxed. Rollers with vibration capability tend to come with a higher price tag than other models. 

How much you can expect to spend on massage roller

Massage rollers can range from $10-$150 in price. Budget-friendly foam rollers and roller sticks cost $10-$50, and features include bumps, different textures and a variety of colors. Mid-range massage rollers are priced from $50-$100, and you’ll be able to find rollers that have vibration capability and have unique texture patterns. Rollers in the $100-$150 range can have high-speed vibration levels, LED illuminated control panels and more. 

Massage roller FAQ

Is a foam roller as good as a massage?

A. Foam rollers can replicate the effectiveness of having a massage by a massage therapist, and in some cases can be more effective than a physical massage. However, it would be tough for a foam roller to compete with some of the most talented massage therapists in the world as they know how to target certain muscles, aches and soreness, and can apply their methods safely. 

Are bumpy foam rollers better?

A. Bumpy foam rollers can be better for targeting smaller muscle groups, but that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily better. Some people find bumpy foam rollers too harsh and prefer smooth rollers that are easier and more comfortable to use. 

What’s the best massage roller to buy?

Top massage roller

TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller

TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller

What you need to know: Offered in a variety of unique colors, TriggerPoint’s massage rollers are commonly used by professional athletes and sports teams. 

What you’ll love: The roller features a hollow core so that you don’t have to worry about it bending or splitting in half. The item comes with a complimentary instructional video so that you can utilize the roller to its best capability. 

What you should consider: Some find it too advanced compared to traditional foam rollers. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top massage roller for the money

LuxFit Speckled Foam Rollers

LuxFit Speckled Foam Rollers

What you need to know: Using extra-firm foam, this massage roller deeply penetrates muscles for therapy, yoga and other exercises. 

What you’ll love: There are four different lengths offered, with sizes going up to 36 inches. There is a 10-year warranty included with the product. 

What you should consider: The roller may be too hard for some users. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

FITINDEX Vibrating Foam Roller 5-Speed

FITINDEX Vibrating Foam Roller 5-Speed

What you need to know: This massage roller has five different vibration levels and you can recharge it with a phone charger cable. 

What you’ll love: It uses three different textured designs to give a variety of sensations to designated parts of your body. It provides over two hours of vibration usage when set at the highest levels.

What you should consider: The vibrations on high levels can take some time to get used to. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Ade Hennis writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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