A foam roller will help ease aching muscles, knots, tightness, or tension after a challenging physical activity or an intense workout so you can recover more efficiently. Aside from being useful in gyms and clinics, foam rollers are excellent for self-massages at home.
Choosing the right foam roller can be challenging because of the various options. The trick is to know the materials used and the roller's suitability for specific uses. To help you along, we've put together a buying guide fact-checked by fitness coach Michelle Estuar. We've also created a top 10 list of foam rollers available online. Keep reading for more info!
Michelle Estuar is the Head Coach of one of the indoor cycling studios in Metro Manila. She trains individuals interested in becoming cycling coaches. She also designs and develops programs to meet fitness goals. To add to that, she is a former triathlete, running coach, and ultra-marathoner, and has completed long-distance events such as a 102km run and a 10km open water swim. Michelle is addicted to anything related to sports and fitness as well as diet and nutrition. She has tried (and will keep on trying) the latest trends in diets, apps, equipment, gears, and accessories—she will do anything to stay fit and healthy.
Jonina is a re-editor who joined the mybest PH team in September 2022. She is interested in writing about anything home-related, especially kitchen equipment and supplies. In her spare time, she likes to bake, read horror books, and watch rom-coms.
The expert oversees the Buying Guide only, and does not determine the products and services featured.
The products and services listed are ranked independently by the editorial team based on the points mentioned in our thoroughly researched buying guide (as of 01-16-2023).
Table of Contents
A foam roller is a dense foam made of different materials, usually in a cylindrical shape. It is primarily used for self-administered myofascial release or SMR to release muscle tightness and relieve muscle soreness. It can also be an additional tool to supplement fitness programs of all levels, including pilates, yoga, and many more.
Additionally, foam rolling has become widely known because it serves many purposes, For instance, it is incorporated before and after workouts as an alternative for warming up and cooling down. Besides easing muscle pain, using a foam roller also increases the range of motion and helps relieve back pain.
Here are some key points to consider:
The density of a foam roller refers to its firmness. Depending on your experience level and your massage intensity preferences, you may choose between low, medium, and firm rollers.
Low-density foam rollers are typically made from polyethylene (PE). This is the lightest and softest among the foam roller types, and it is great for those who are just getting started with foam rollers. It provides more cushion, making it more comfortable than firm rollers, perfect for beginners.
It's perfect for positioning, balance, postural, and muscle re-education, among other uses. This type of foam is also strong enough to be used by both adults and children. Although in saying that, they are less durable and can get permanently deformed if used frequently.
Medium-density foam rollers have the right balance of firmness, and they are usually made of ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), a shock-absorbent material that is still lightweight. This means that it's able to provide a moderate cushion without being too firm, making it ideal for fitness use.
These foam rollers are stable props to use, especially in yoga and pilates practices, as they help improve balance and are practical for frequent use. This makes them suited for both beginners and advanced users.
If you are looking for something very firm, foam rollers made from expanded polypropylene (EPP) are your best choice. These rollers have high density, which makes them a good choice for moderate to heavy use.
This type of foam roller also offers efficient muscle pain relief and increases blood flow, making it excellent for anyone who is undergoing recovery and rehabilitation due to injury or those who can handle firmer rollers. This is suitable for gyms and clinics, too, since it's durable and long-lasting.
Aside from the way a foam roller looks, smooth and textured foam rollers offer different features and benefits. It's important to know their differences so that you can pick one based on your lifestyle.
As their name suggests, smooth foam rollers have smooth surfaces that are able to provide even pressure across certain areas of your body. This type of roller is ideal for beginners as it provides more comfort and is not likely to cause any pain or bruising, especially if incorrectly used.
Smooth rollers are less intense in terms of pressure and are also less expensive compared to the others.
Textured rollers have bumps and ridges all over them that simulate the hands of a masseuse. Different textures provide different levels of pressure, allowing them to work deeper into muscles and specific spots more intensely. These are suitable for regular users. However, if you're new to foam rolling, this may be a bit painful or uncomfortable.
Long rollers typically measure around 36 inches with a diameter of 5-6 inches. These are ideal for rolling on the back and on larger areas like the quads and hamstrings. These are beginner-friendly as well, especially for those who are looking to use this for yoga and other similar practices.
On the other hand, shorter rollers that measure around 12-24 inches are great for those on the go because of their portability. They are also great for targeting smaller areas like the arms and calves. However, they can be quite challenging for beginners as they're not as easy to use compared to the long ones.
Cylindrical foam rollers mainly have two types - one which is hollow called open-cell and its counterpart being closed-cell. Aside from their design, they each serve different purposes.
Open foam rollers are reminiscent of a pool noodle, identified by the bare look of its ends. It looks as if someone cut the edges of a tube, showing the cells of the foam that make up the roller. These are great for beginners, individuals who have a rigid spine, or those whose muscles are more sensitive to pressure, as they're soft and will likely provide a lot of comfort.
Something to keep in mind is that these types of rollers are not as durable, so they're not advisable if you're on the heavier side and if you plan to use them regularly.
Closed-cell foam rollers have smoother ends, with the edges being sealed off. It's more solid-looking and is more expensive than open-cell options. This type of foam roller is stiffer, which means that it's not really suitable for those with more sensitive backs.
Their firmness makes them more durable, which means that they are more long-lasting and are recommended for anyone who needs a mid-range, consistent pressure, whether you're a beginner or undergoing rehab. Their foam is also less likely to break down immediately, thus, making them more cost-efficient in the long run.
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GRID 1.0 Foam Roller
The Go-To Foam Roller for Practical Use
EPE Foam Roller
Provides a Soft and Smooth Foam Material for Beginners
Ensayo Gym Equipment
A Deep-Tissue Foam Roller for Active People
EPP Foam Roller
Designed With High-Density Foam for Long-Lasting Use
Foam Roller (Black 90 cm)
A Supplemental Tool for Yoga, Pilates, and Related Exercises
Get Comfort and Support With This Strong Hollow-Core Roller
Yoga Foam Roller Set
A 2-in-1 Foam Roller With Convenient Storage
Hard Massage Foam Roller
Has Unique Crescent-Shaped Bumps That Fit the Curves of the Body
Yoga Foam Roller (30 cm)
A Smooth and Compact Foam Roller That Fits in Your Gym Bag
Features a Recessed Channel to Avoid Sensitive Areas While Rolling
Regardless of your experience level, this hollow-core foam roller from TriggerPoint offers a balanced degree of firmness and feels like a massage therapist's hands. It delivers therapeutic compression, thanks to its multi-textured surface.
This foam roller is also travel-friendly due to its compact size. Its sweat-resistant EVA foam material also makes it easy to clean and durable for frequent use. Reviewers recommend it for everyday use and relief. If you're looking for a sturdy tool to relieve muscle pain and aid recovery, check this out!
For those attempting foam rolling for the first time, this product from SunnyFit is your best bet. Its polyethylene foam material makes it lightweight and adds more cushioning. Because of this, beginners unfamiliar with firm rollers will find it comfortable.
The foam applies pressure evenly due to its smooth surface and open-cell design. It's available in various sizes, but the 90 cm version is the most beginner-friendly because it works well for use over large sections of your body or in activities like yoga. Reviews emphasized this foam roller's lightness and good quality.
If you're an athlete or you lead an active lifestyle, a proper post-workout routine is necessary, especially following strenuous workouts or training sessions. Ensayo's foam roller might be the right choice for you, as it provides a deeper massage. The spiky bumps target trigger points for pain relief and stimulate deeper muscle layers.
This foam roller can help lower the risk of injury by reducing soreness and enhancing mobility. Due to its textured surface and degree of firmness, it is best suited for experienced rollers. Ensayo's customers vouch for its durability and quality despite its affordable price!
In need of a foam roller to use in clinics or gyms? Then, your best option is this item from SunnyFit. It is exceptionally firm and keeps its shape even after prolonged use because of its expanded polyethylene (EPP) foam material. Despite having high density, this product is still surprisingly lightweight and portable.
Additionally, this foam roller is textured with massage points for extra stimulation and to treat multiple muscles. It also offers excellent support due to its solid core. Reviewers laud its robustness and confirm that it can loosen up tense muscles.
Do you practice yoga, Pilates, or other similar disciplines? If so, a long and firm foam roller, like this product from TTLIFE, is a fantastic complement to your routine. It serves as an unsteady surface to help you refine your core control, leading to better stability and balance.
This foam roller is somewhat textured, creating a nonslip surface. Its size also makes it suitable for large areas like your back, quads, and hamstrings. A reviewer even remarked that it is the ideal length for Pilates, so give it a try if you want good value for your money!
Online stores typically sell hollow-core foam rollers, so you're always bound to find one online. However, this foam roller from FITSPIRE stands out because of its polypropylene (PP) tube. Its core construction, as opposed to the PVC tube in others, makes it sturdy and capable of bearing significant weight.
Its EVA foam is also medium-density, so it's gentle enough for delicate backs while still being firm enough to massage overused and strained muscles. The short length is especially excellent for the calf, arms, and foot. Try it out for a hollow-core foam roller that doesn't crack easily!
Whether you're looking for a soft or hard foam roller, TOMSHOO has got you covered. This set comes with a hard, black foam roller for easing muscle tightness, tension, and pain. It also includes a gentle roller made of soft white foam.
Despite being a two-piece set, it is simple to store, as the white foam roller fits perfectly in the hollow core of the black foam roller! Even if you have limited storage, you can easily keep it at home or take it with you when you travel. If you're still deciding between a firm or soft foam roller, check this product out to get the perfect duo!
This foam roller is a sensible choice if you want to massage particular areas of your back and calves. It is a textured foam roller with crescent-shaped bumps that conform to the contours of your back and calves. After engaging in sports or exercise, you can self-massage by pressing your body weight over this product.
Despite having a hollow core design, this foam roller has been modified to have a solid core by stuffing it with black, durable foam. As such, you won't have to be concerned about breakage or cracking. According to reviews from satisfied buyers, this roller works wonders for easing back discomfort!
Do you dislike the bulky look of long, textured foam rollers? If so, this TOMSHOO 30 cm foam roller will meet your needs. It is the perfect item to put in your gym bag due to its length and smooth surface.
It's ideal for working out the calf and arm muscles because it's short. Additionally, it is lightweight and has a decent level of firmness that is tolerable even if you are not accustomed to foam rolling. Consider this product if you want to take your foam roller on the go!
Concerned that using a foam roller will strain your spine or IT band? You won't have to stress about it with TriggerPoint's Channel foam roller. The middle of the roller is curved, allowing it to massage difficult-to-reach places that may be sensitive to the pressure of foam rolling.
Because of its shape, you can use the foam roller along the side of your leg or back without putting pressure on your IT band or spine. It also has a flat surface, so the targeted area is under even pressure. Reviews suggest that because of the firmness of its sweat-resistant EVA foam material, this is more appropriate for experienced rollers.
Below are some of the most asked questions on the web answered by the mybest team.
Yes, a foam roller can help relieve back pain. Avoid rolling directly on your lower back's spine, though. The best foam roller for the back is a long and soft type, like the SunnyFit EPE Foam Roller on our list.
Whether pre- or post-workout, it is preferable to foam roll before stretching. Rolling can help your body stretch further by releasing its tightness and tension.
Place your legs over the foam roller while you sit down on the ground. Use your body weight to slowly roll forward and backward. Depending on where you position the foam roller, you can target your thighs, calves, hamstrings, or quads.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle not only helps you stay in shape but also fosters a positive mindset. Check out these items that you can add to your fitness routine!
Re-Editor: Jonina Martin
Our buying guide was carefully researched and crafted by the mybest team of writers and editors, in collaboration with the expert featured in this article. We used the buying guide as a basis for choosing and ranking the product recommendations, and we looked at reviews and ratings from different E-commerce sites like Lazada, Shopee, and more.
No. 1：TriggerPoint ｜GRID 1.0 Foam Roller
No. 2：SunnyFit｜EPE Foam Roller ｜90 cm
No. 3：Ensayo Gym Equipment｜Foam Roll ｜Black Spike Design
No. 4：SunnyFit｜EPP Foam Roller
No. 5：TTLIFE｜Foam Roller (Black 90 cm)
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The descriptions of each product is referenced from the content available from the manufacturer, e-commerce sites etc.
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