‘Foam rolling’ is now a standard term in health and fitness.
Foam rollers are massage tools that enable you to massage and release tight and sore muscles, and also help speed up recovery after a workout.
By breaking up muscle knots, they relieve tension and provide benefits that extend to the entirety of your body.
This practice of foam rolling allows you to get all these benefits without having to pay for physical therapy, or hire a massage therapist or fitness coach.
In addition to using foam rollers to practice self-massage techniques, you can also use them for exercise, as they’re sometimes used in pilates, yoga, and other exercise programs.
In this article, I’ll be looking at the best foam rollers on the market and help you find the best foam roller to help you towards your fitness goals.
The Best Foam Rollers in 2023
If you have muscle soreness or tightness, or if you’re looking for better recovery time between workouts, trying out a foam roller is well worth the investment.
In this section, I look at 10 of the best foam rollers to choose from depending on your needs.
Amazon Basics High-Density Foam Roller
There’s only one way to describe the Amazon Basics foam roller and this is …’basic.’
And that’s not a bad thing.
It’s a simple molded polypropylene roller in a cylinder shape – almost like the styrofoam, you get in packaging although a lot denser.
Although it’s basic it gets the job done.
It works well for a quick post-workout massage to avoid your muscles cramping up later in the day or simply loosening them up.
It’s light to carry around yet also durable.
I even like it more than most of the other cheap foam rollers you get that have all the complex ridges and a hollow center which end up cracking after a few users.
This particular foam roller comes in all kinds of sizes that you don’t normally see including one that’s 36 inches which is much longer than most foam rollers.
It isn’t as high quality as some of the other foam rollers on this list, however, it is good value for money.
Although it is quite dense, people who have rolled before may want something more firm.
If you want to experiment with foam rolling this could be a good starter option due to its price.
TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller
This foam roller is slightly more pricey than most foam rollers on the market.
For instance, it’s around three to four times more expensive than the Amazon Basics foam roller we just looked at.
However, there’s plenty to justify its relatively high cost.
First of all, it has a nice texture to it. It’s covered in soft foam wrapped around a hollow but solid core.
This gives the foam roller a nice soft surface to roll on yet the foam roller still feels firm.
Secondly, the fact it’s hollow makes it light to carry around.
This doesn’t mean it’s susceptible to breaking as I’ve had mine for years and there’s no sign of cracks or hints that it’s going to break at any moment.
This particular model that I have chosen is 26″ so it’s a good length as long as you’re not planning to put it in your bag to travel with.
It does come in a smaller 13″ size which is not only smaller but also a lot cheaper.
Overall, this is a great foam roller for all levels from beginner to intermediate, and I recommend this as a great option if you wish to build a new habit of daily foam rolling for the long term.
It is more expensive than other foam rollers but its quality and construction will last you a lifetime.
I’ve owned other foam rollers with a hollow core that have simply collapsed over time so it is worth paying the extra price in this regard.
The OPTP Pro Roller is made with durable material, but there are other products out there with similar quality for a lower price.
While it’s priced higher than its competitors, it’s guaranteed to last a long time without flattening.
The density of the OPTP Pro Roller is high enough to do its job and loosen tight muscles and it’s a lot softer than the AmazonBasics foam roller.
The OPTP Pro-Roller is a better option if you need a lower intensity level.
This is a great option for beginners.
However, if you have foam rolled before you may be better off with a foam roller with high-density foam.
Like the TriggerPoint GRID foam roller, the Rumble Roller has a unique, patented exterior designed for deep tissue massage.
The unique feature of the Rumble Roller is that it has extra bumps and ridges to dig deep into sore and tight muscles.
This kind of roller will provide much more relief than flat-surfaced rollers, however, the experience will be much more intense (at least in the beginning).
It is available in different lengths (12, 22, and 31 inches) and also has two options of density, Original and Extra Firm.
I’ve tested both X-Firm and the Original density and the X-Firm model really is a step up from the Original, so if you’re quite sensitive to you’ll want to go for the original model.
More advanced users will be pleased with the X-Firm model as the ridges feel extremely hard and sink in deep into the muscles.
I’d recommend the Rumble Roller to users who have a lot of trigger points and knots they need to release.
As an everyday post-workout foam roller, I’d recommend going with a flatter surfaced foam roller.
Overall, if you want an intense foam roller to relieve hard-to-reach trigger points then this is by far the best foam roller on the list for that.
Related: Rumble Roller review
Brazyn Morph Trek Foam Roller
The Brazyn Morph Trek foam roller is collapsible and convenient for travel, and its firm exterior is designed with steep ridges for effective myofascial release.
This foam roller is great for people who have always wanted to take their foam roller with them to the gym but couldn’t due to the large size of most foam rollers.
Some users of this product compared it to the TriggerPoint GRID roller based on its professional-grade quality and effectiveness, but with the added bonus of better portability.
It comes at a high price, however, as it’s more expensive than the TriggerPoint GRID and many other foam rollers.
Buy this foam roller if you want something portable and easy to take with you on your travels.
Rollga Foam Roller
The Rollga foam roller is shaped with grooves so that it can bypass bones and hit only muscle.
This can prove more comfortable if you find other foam rollers too intense and painful on the bone.
On the other hand, its material is very firm with little “give” to it.
While it may take the pressure off your bones, it still delivers firm pressure to hard-to-reach fascia and muscles around them.
The Rollga comes with a carry strap you can use for bringing it to the gym or anywhere else you may need it.
T-Pin Foam Roller
The T-Pin foam roller from WODFitters has a unique design that can provide a more advanced form of myofascial release.
It’s best for those already experienced with some form of deep tissue massage because it can be too painful for beginners.
Users describe it feels like plastic more than foam.
It’s hard, dense and has thicker and higher ridges that dig into your tissue when your body weight is applied.
Users have seen tremendous results when using the T-Pin foam roller, especially down their spine and backs.
Weighing 1.78 pounds, it’s sturdy and made with high-quality material.
If you are looking for something a little different and with a little more intensity, this is a good option.
Acumobility Ultimate Back Roller
Shorter in length and wider in width than a typical foam roller, the Ultimate back roller from Acumobility is a foam roller designed specifically for your back.
Use it to target your mid, lower or upper back a section at a time, and even the back of your neck.
Strong enough to support up to 1,000 pounds in weight, it has ridges and gaps that allow you to dig into back muscles without hurting your spine.
This roller is made of tough EVA moulded foam that makes it durable and long-lasting.
Unlike other foam rollers, you can use this one against a wall because of its width that makes it easy to roll.
If the intensity is too strong on your back, you can put a towel over the foam to soften the ridges.
Some users felt the foam roller was dangerous to use when they got started because of the intensity and the risk of hurting a muscle or bruising a bone.
This is the most effective option to help relieve back pain and improve your posture, so it may be worth getting help from a massage therapist or personal trainer if you think this roller is right for you.
The RAD Helix is a high-density foam roller with a unique design you can use to massage and release your back, legs, and glutes.
There is a deep groove in the center of the roller so that the two ridges can massage your back while your spine sits in the groove untouched.
These ridges also let you apply extra pressure beyond what a smooth foam roller could, whether you use it on your back, neck, legs, or glutes.
In fact, RAD claims there are exactly 17 muscle groups you can target with the tool, including the lats, serratus, rotator cuff, and quadratus lumborum.
I found that the RAD helix works better for the back area than most other foam rollers. The shape of the RAD Helix means it is perfect for massaging the muscles alongside the spine.
For other areas of the body, I didn’t find it much better than other foam rollers.
Although the RAD Helix worked wonders on my back there is one huge flaw I came across.
The grooves and patterns left marks all over my back. Part of the marks was bruising mixed with burns from rolling my back up and down when lying on the RAD Helix.
I don’t understand what the grooves are for as they serve no purpose other than making the RAD Helix more uncomfortable to use.
That being said, if you want a foam roller that works specifically for the back then the RAD Helix has a great shape for this.
Just be wary that it may leave marks on your back and burn a little while using it.
TriggerPoint GRID X Foam Roller
The TriggerPoint GRID X Foam Roller has now become my everyday go-to foam roller. I use it after I workout or whenever I feel a bit of tightness in my quads or glutes and it works perfectly.
It’s a lot firmer than the original TP GRID foam roller reviewed above so if you already own that one, or need a foam roller that feels firm, then the GRID X is a good option.
Even though it is very firm it still has a slightly padded feel to it, however, it feels very firm when you get on it and at the same time, the padding makes it a joy to foam roll with.
Despite the padding, it may be still a little too intense for a beginner. So if you’re a beginner I’d recommend the original GRID.
If there’s one issue I have with the TriggerPoint GRID X Foam Roller is that it only comes in one size (13 inches).
I generally prefer foam rolling on a larger roller and I don’t carry my foam roller so a 26-inch option would have been the icing on the cake.
The Best Foam Roller: Recommendations
The best all-round intermediate foam roller is the TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller.
It comes in various sizes and colours but the best thing about it is how durable it is.
Many other foam rollers may deteriorate after years of use, however, I’ve used my GRID foam rollers for years and have not seen any hint of damage.
The TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller can withstand 500lbs of weight and comes with a 1-year warranty. It is also priced fairly and represents great value for money.
If you’re someone who has foam rolled for a long time and looking for a more intense foam roller to use post-workout or for general use, then the firmer TriggerPoint GRID X Foam Roller may be for you.
If this is your first foam roller and you want something that is cheap and cheerful.
The AmazonBasics Foam roller is a good option for beginners given its low price and high durability.
How to Choose the Best Foam Roller For Your Needs
Foam rollers come in different sizes, shapes and textures. They also come in different degrees of firmness that can change the intensity of the massage they offer.
There isn’t a particular type of foam roller that is guaranteed to meet everyone’s need.
Which foam roller works best for you will depend on a number of factors such as how much you have foam rolled before, how tight the muscles in your body are and where in your body you are looking to get relief.
Successfully choosing the correct combination of these traits to best suit your body is key to finding a foam roller that will meet your needs.
In this section, I’ll try to help you decide which qualities you should look for when choosing the best foam roller for you.
The denser the foam roller the more effective it will be for relieving tight and sore muscles.
Beginners will most likely want something that is dense but still has some softness to it.
A standard foam roller with a medium-density should be fine for starting out.
However, the more your body gets used to rolling, the higher the density you’ll need to find relief.
You’ll notice some foam rollers have patterns and protrusions on their surfaces.
These are designed to ‘dig’ into the knots more than a flat surface would in order to trigger more effective self-myofascial release.
For most of us, these aren’t necessary and a flat-surfaced foam roller will do.
However, someone who needs more relief will likely find these bumps to be beneficial.
Foam rollers come in different sizes and lengths.
A longer foam roller is easier to stay on than a smaller one, however, the standard size should suit most people.
Another point to consider is that a smaller foam roller is easier to carry around than a longer one if you wish to take it with you when traveling.
Your foam roller will have to be strong and durable since it will have to support your full body weight for long periods of time.
It should also be one that doesn’t break easily and will last you a long time.
Vibrating Vs Non-Vibrating Foam Roller
A vibrating foam roller will increase the intensity of self-myofascial release you get from your foam roller.
Vibrating foam rollers are charged electrically and are more expensive than non-vibrating foam rollers.
A vibrating foam roller is also likely to be heavier than a standard foam roller since it will need to carry the extra weight of the vibration mechanism.
If you want to increase the effectiveness of your foam roller and are willing to spend a little more, then a vibrating foam roller is well worth a try.
Related: The Best Vibrating Foam Rollers
How to Use Your New Foam Roller
It’s easy to get started with your own physical therapy and self-myofascial relief work when you get a foam roller.
Many foam roller companies offer online videos for training on how to use the product effectively so be sure to watch the instruction video for your new roller.
However, it always helps to have a physical therapist or fitness coach who is familiar with foam rollers so that you can get the most out of them.
When you first start rolling you’ll hit many points which feel extremely tender.
The idea is to hold the position and to embrace the discomfort until you feel the pain subside. Experts usually say that you should hold on to the position for at least 30 seconds.
Note that if you are extremely tight and have stored a lot of tightness in the body over the years, you may find that you are constantly finding new trigger points every day.
Therefore, the process can take many days, weeks or months.
Foam Rollers and Other Myofascial Release Tools
It may take a few goes before you find the right foam roller.
The first foam roller you buy may feel too hard for you, however, over time you’ll discover that it’s in fact too soft!
The basic idea for finding the right foam roller is to get a good quality foam roller that suits your basic needs and then supplement your additional needs (deeper trigger points) with massage balls and other myofascial release tools that are specialised for deeper release.
If you’ve never foam rolled – start now! You won’t regret it!