Outdoor Recreation

The Best Foam Rollers of 2024

Written by teobrito.com

Foam rollers have gained a lot of traction in recent years as a key recovery tool. Whether we’re working at the desk, lifting weights, or skiing moguls, our muscles get worked and foam rollers target tight areas and trigger points to help get us back to our baseline. 

Like upgrading to an electric toothbrush or gas grill, foam rollers are simple, easy to use, and highly effective. And though rolling out can be less than enjoyable, we feel relief and greater mobility afterward. 

For outdoor enthusiasts and athletes, foam rollers are an accessible self-care tool. Though there are many options on the market, the best foam roller will be the one that feels best to you. 

During foam roller testing, a systematic evaluation regime was followed to ensure each foam roller received equal testing across the board. Each foam roller was tested for the same duration and on the same muscle groups over a time span of 2 weeks. Following our testing, we noted the foam roller’s firmness, length, and texture and identified changes in soreness, mobility, and pain afterward.

To learn the differences between designs and more on how we conducted our tests, be sure to check out the buyer’s guide and FAQ section at the end of this article. We’ve even put together a comparison chart to see how the foam rollers stack up against one another. Below are our picks for the best foam rollers of 2024. 

Editor’s Note: We updated our Foam Rollers guide on March 11, 2024, to add the super-cushioned Gaiam Restore Foam Roller, the deep-tissue massaging Pro-Tec Contoured Roller, and our new Best Vibrating roller, the Therabody Wave.

The Best Foam Rollers of 2024


Best Overall Foam Roller

  • Materials
    High-density EVA foam
  • Texture
    Rounded bumps
  • Dimensions
    18 in. x 6 in.
  • Weight
    2 lbs., 9.6 oz.

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The Best Foam Rollers of 2024


  • Anatomically contoured face

  • A large diameter gives better leverage to apply pressure

  • Quality high-density foam is durable

Best Budget Foam Roller

  • Materials
    Polypropylene foam
  • Texture
    Smooth
  • Dimensions
    18 in. x 6 in.; 24 in. X 6 in; 36 in x 6 in
  • Weight
    4.3 oz.

The Best Foam Rollers of 2024


  • Affordable

  • Simple, firm construction

  • Different designs and sizes available


  • Not very durable

  • Slightly raised seams can be irritating

Best Vibrating Foam Roller

  • Materials
    Hypo-allergenic high-density EVA foam
  • Texture
    Smooth
  • Dimensions
    12 in. x 5 in.
  • Weight
    3 lbs., 4.8 oz.

The Best Foam Rollers of 2024


  • Vibration technology increases therapeutic potential

  • Five customizable vibration frequencies

  • Improves range of motion

  • Quiet


  • Expensive

  • Heavy

  • Some may consider the length too short

Best Portable Foam Roller

  • Materials
    Bamboo, aluminum, foam
  • Texture
    Raised nubs
  • Dimensions
    15.5 in. x 6.5 in. (2 in. wide when flattened)
  • Weight
    1 lb., 9.6 oz.

The Best Foam Rollers of 2024


  • Most portable roller on the market

  • Hits all targeted muscle groups

  • Eco-friendly design


  • Can collapse during use

  • Ridge design isn’t comfortable for everyone

  • More expensive than standard rollers

Best Massage Wheel

  • Materials
    EVA foam, ABS plastic
  • Texture
    Dimpled and contoured
  • Dimensions
    5 in. x 8 in.
  • Weight
    3 lbs., 2.6 oz.

The Best Foam Rollers of 2024


  • Unique design targets muscles between shoulder blades

  • Vibration helps to unlock tension in spine

  • Long battery life


  • Less versatile for other muscle groups

  • Proprietary charger

Best Massage Ball

  • Material
    100% sustainable cork
  • Texture
    Smooth
  • Dimensions
    1.9 in., 2.5 in.
  • Weight
    0.7 oz., 1.4 oz.

The Best Foam Rollers of 2024


  • Light and packable

  • Great for targeting small muscles

  • Sustainable materials


  • Less effective for targeting big muscle groups

Best Long Foam Roller

  • Materials
    EVA foam
  • Texture
    Smooth
  • Dimensions
    36 in. x 4 in.
  • Weight
    Varies

The Best Foam Rollers of 2024


  • Soft foam is ideal for newcomers to foam rolling

  • Available in various size options


  • Won’t be the best for deep tissue work

Best of the Rest

  • Materials
    EVA foam
  • Texture
    Gridded
  • Dimensions
    13 in. x 5.5 in.
  • Weight
    1 lb., 8 oz.

The Best Foam Rollers of 2024


  • Hyper-focused therapy techniques

  • Light and durable

  • Trusted brand


  • Length of roller is too short for some

  • Some may find the diameter to small to get leverage

  • Materials
    Foam
  • Texture
    Lightly textured
  • Dimensions
    18 in. x. 6 in.
  • Weight
    13.9 oz.

The Best Foam Rollers of 2024


  • 15-minute digital workout included

  • Incredibly lightweight

  • Good length for more stretches


  • Some may find the firmness too soft

  • Not as durable as others

  • Materials
    High-density EVA foam
  • Texture
    Raised contours
  • Dimensions
    14 in. x 5 in.
  • Weight
    16 oz.

The Best Foam Rollers of 2024


  • Lightweight and portable

  • Highly durable

  • Great for deep tissue massage

  • Good for targeting smaller muscles


  • Some may find the firmness and texture too aggressive

  • Makes a crinkling sound when in use

  • Materials
    EVA Foam
  • Texture
    High-profile bumps
  • Dimensions
    13 in. x 5 in.
  • Weight
    14 oz.

The Best Foam Rollers of 2024


  • Great soft tissue massage

  • Perfect tool for warming up


  • Doesn’t apply pressure evenly

  • Materials
    EVA foam
  • Texture
    Raised ridges
  • Dimensions
    13 in. x 5.5 in.
  • Weight
    1 lb., 15 oz.

The Best Foam Rollers of 2024


  • Lightweight

  • Textured surface for pinpoint treatment

  • Durable


  • More expensive than similar options

  • Can cause discomfort during use, may not be ideal for users who are new to foam rolling

  • Materials
    Polypropylene foam
  • Texture
    Contoured
  • Dimensions
    13 in. x 5.4 in.
  • Weight
    2 lbs., 11 oz.

The Best Foam Rollers of 2024


  • Vibration technology increases therapeutic potential

  • Improves range of motion

  • Durable design


  • Expensive

  • Short battery life

  • Materials
    Expanded polypropylene (EPP) foam
  • Texture
    Smooth
  • Dimensions
    12 in. x 3 in.; 18 in. x 3 in.; 36 in. x 3 in.
  • Weight
    3.1 oz., 3.9 oz., 6.7 oz. (depending on dimensions)

The Best Foam Rollers of 2024


  • Affordable

  • Simple, functional design

  • Full and half-round options


  • Not the most durable

  • Too firm for some folks

Foam Roller Comparison Chart

Foam Roller Materials Texture Dimensions Weight
Roll Recovery R4 High-density EVA foam Rounded bumps 18 in. x 6 in. 2 lbs., 9.6 oz.
AmazonBasics High-Density
Round Foam Roller
Polypropylene foam Smooth 18 in. x 6 in; 24 in. X 6 in; 36 in x 6 in 4.3 oz.
Therabody Wave Roller High-density EVA foam Smooth 12 in. x 5 in. 3 lbs., 4.8 oz.
Brazyn Morph Collapsible
Foam Roller
Bamboo, aluminum, foam Raised nubs 15.5 in. x 6.5 in. (2 in. wide when flattened) 1 lb., 9.6 oz.
Chirp Wheel Pro EVA foam, ABS plastic Dimpled and contoured 5 in. x 8 in. 3 lbs., 2.6 oz.
Rawlogy Cork
Massage Ball
100% sustainable cork Smooth 1.9 in., 2.5 in. 0.7 oz., 1.4 oz.
OPTP Pro-Roller Soft EVA foam Smooth 36 in. x 4 in. Varies
TriggerPoint GRID
Foam Roller
EVA foam Gridded 13 in. x 5.5 in. 1 lb., 8 oz.
Gaiam Restore Foam Roller Foam Lightly textured 18 in. x. 6 in. 13.9 oz.
Pro-Tec Contoured Roller High-density EVA foam Raised contours 14 in. x 5 in. 16 oz.
RumbleRoller Original
Textured Foam Roller
EVA foam High-profile bumps 13 in. x 5 in. 14 oz.
Hyperice Vyper 3.0 Polypropylene foam Contoured 13 in. x 5.4 in. 2 lbs., 11 oz.
TriggerPoint Rush Roller EVA foam Raised ridges 13 in. x 5.5 in. 1 lb., 15 oz.
ProsourceFit High-Density
Foam Rollers
Expanded polypropylene (EPP) foam Smooth 12 in. x 3 in.; 18 in. x 3 in.; 36 in. x 3 in. 3.1 oz., 3.9 oz., 6.7 oz.
For beginners or those with painful tension, softer foam rollers, like the Gaiam Restore Foam Roller, are great for a gentle massage; (photo/Rebecca Ross)

How We Tested Foam Rollers

Our GearJunkie team of gear testers includes hikers, runners, climbers, skiers, and outdoor adventurers, and we constantly put our bodies to the test. We are weekend warriors who walk dozens of miles in the mountains with overnight packs on our days off. We’re also professional guides that rely on our physical abilities to pay the bills. 

As outdoor recreationists, we know firsthand the importance of good recovery. After a big objective in the mountains, rolling out and stretching sore muscles is key to getting outside again as soon as possible. It’s also key to enjoying everyday life with better mobility, flexibility, injury prevention, and stress relief. 

Our foam roller testing began in 2021 with a slate of seven rollers, and an aim to bring together the best rollers available for releasing tension in active outdoors people. Our choices reflected a broad consideration of the market, and took into account not only the opinions of active coworkers and friends, but also of the physical therapists we trust our bodies to.

We expanded our roller horizons in 2022 when tester and climbing guide Katie Griffith looked into alternative roller styles and added massage wheels and massage balls into the mix, bringing the knowledge of a life spent living out of her converted van and the aches that can sometimes accompany that.

While testing for the best foam rollers, we considered and used a wide variety of shapes, materials, densities, and sizes for a range of applications and targeting various body areas. In addition to our objective tests and personal experience, we also consider the most innovative, popular, novel, and legacy products available today. These foam rollers serve a range of athletes, muscle groups, storage needs, and price points.

Our most recent roller testing saw tester Rebecca Ross refine our foam roller testing regiment while evaluating several additional foam rollers on our list. With a Master’s degree in public health, she has spent time analyzing the way we test foam rollers to ensure the most equitable and fair comparison.

Firmness, length, durability, and texture were cross-referenced with any changes in mobility, discomfort, or pain during a daily rotation of 15-minute testing sessions over two weeks.

TriggerPoint Roller in action
The alternating textures of the TriggerPoint Roller allow you to customize your rolling out; (photo/Nick Belcaster)

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Foam Roller

Differences in firmness, length, texture, and portability all play into choosing a foam roller, and each variable serves its purpose.

Foam Type

There are a handful of materials used for foam rollers with the most common on our list being Polyethylene (PE), Expanded Polypropylene (EPP), and Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA).

Soft foam rollers are made from PE and tend to be the least durable. A much stronger version is EPP, used in the AmazonBasics High-Density Round Foam Roller, which has many of the same properties as PE, but is considered one of the more dense foams out there. Both PE and EPP are not the most durable, since they easily show signs of wear. However, with care, they can be incredibly long-lasting.

Most on our list are made from EVA, like the RumbleRoller Original Textured Foam Roller, and that’s because it’s highly tear-resistant, making it more durable but also more expensive. EVA-made foam rollers are not as dense as EPP-made ones, but “high-density EVA” is tougher than regular EVA rollers.

Of course, there are alternative materials as well, including bamboo, which is used in the Brazyn Morph Collapsible Foam Roller together with foam and aluminum, or even cork, which is used in the Rawlogy Cork Massage Ball, to name a couple.

Best Foam Rollers — Testing
(Photo/Nick Belcaster)

Firmness

Arguably the most important factor in choosing a foam roller is its density or firmness. Soft rollers may not provide the level of massage required for deep muscle soreness. Excessively hard rollers can cause bruising or trauma if not used correctly.

In some cases, the color of a foam roller can be used to help identify firmness; for instance, foam that is lighter in color tends to be softer, whereas foam that is darker tends to be firmer. But because standards can vary from brand to brand, it is not always straightforward to identify firmness based on color or material alone.

Because of this, we measured firmness by measuring the amount of pliability or “give” after applying pressure. A generous amount of “give” was considered soft, while no “give” at all was considered hard, and anything in between was considered medium.

Foam rollers of different sizes
Foam rollers are available in a spectrum of firmness levels; (photo/Nick Belcaster)

With a fair amount of pliability, the OPTP Pro-Roller Soft, is considered a soft roller and is designed to prioritize comfort over deep tissue massage. Less-firm rollers are suitable for those with sensitive muscles or who are new to foam rolling. As you improve your technique and your muscles get used to the pressure, you can move up to harder rollers.

Firm rollers like the Roll Recovery R4, which were considered to have no “give” are designed for deep and intense massage and muscle therapy. If you are a very active person, a hard roller can help you target and penetrate deep into sore muscles. This style of roller is also ideal for myofascial release.

Rollers with a medium-level firmness can, as you may imagine, do it all. They are suitable for both massage and yoga or Pilates exercise routines. Proper use will still allow you to access deep tissue while maintaining comfort and cushion found in less-firm rollers.

Length

As with firmness, different lengths each serve their purpose, and it is up to you to decide what is most important for your specific muscular needs.

Long or full-size rollers generally measure around 36 inches in length. At this length, these rollers are suitable for larger muscle groups. Full-size rollers allow you to access your entire back when laid perpendicular to your spine.

These rollers are also great for other large muscle groups like those found in your upper leg. The longer length also lends itself well to many Pilates or core exercises that require you to lay it vertically along your back.

Shorter rollers, 24 inches or less, are excellent for pinpointing smaller muscle groups like specific areas of your back, arms, or legs. If you have isolated problem areas around your body, a shorter roller may be a perfect choice. As a bonus, the shorter lengths are also more portable.

If your persistent knots are in hard-to-reach areas, specifically shaped rollers like the Chirp Wheel Pro can target muscles that a regular foam roller of any length might miss. 

Diameter 

The Gaiam Restore Foam Roller has a diameter of 6 inches, which is an inch larger than several other rollers on our list; (photo/Rebecca Ross)

The diameter measures how thick the foam roller is or the circumference. Foam rollers with larger diameters can be easier to apply more pressure because you can get more leverage on them. 

The most popular diameter seems to be around five inches. We would not recommend buying anything less for a general-use foam roller because it can be hard to press down on it. Typically foam rollers with smaller diameters are specially made for calves, soleus, or Achilles. 

The Roll Recovery R4 was one of the largest diameters we tested at 6 inches, making it easy to apply a lot of weight.  

Portability

The vibrational Therabody Wave Roller comes with its own carrying bag for easy transport; (photo/Rebecca Ross)

Your foam roller’s portability is a worthy consideration depending on your lifestyle and level of muscle soreness. If you only plan on using a roller occasionally or at home, perhaps you won’t have to worry about how easy it is to bring with you. If you have chronic muscle pain and travel a lot for business or pleasure, a more portable option is the way to go.

Some rollers are explicitly designed with portability in mind, like the Rawlogy Cork Massage Ball. Still, even if not designed for portability, many shorter rollers can easily fit in a standard gym bag.

Texture

The texture is another noticeable difference between foam rollers. The differences can be spelled out simply between smooth and textured rollers.

Smooth rollers are traditional and have been the go-to for some time. They provide equal pressure across the targeted area, but may be limited in reaching deep muscles or tendons. During our 15 minutes of testing, we discovered that raised textured foam rollers produced the most noticeable improvement in enhanced flexibility and release of myofascial trigger points compared to smoother textures.

Like softer rollers, smooth rollers are a good choice for beginners, as they are not as intense as their textured counterparts. Generally speaking, smooth rollers are also often more affordable.

Textured rollers are more advanced and better suited for users comfortable with their rolling technique. The added features on these rollers, like ridges and bumps, are meant to precisely target problem areas.

Textured rollers — like the Pro-Tec Contoured Roller below — will often have multiple features on one roller to promote customization. They are specifically designed to target specific muscle groups for the best massage, mimicking a massage therapist’s hands, and are a good way to isolate knots or problem areas.

A look at the contoured texture of the Pro-Tec Contoured Roller; (photo/Rebecca Ross)

Without a doubt, the six features outlined above are the most important things to consider when shopping for the best foam roller for back or muscle issues. That said, there are a few other considerations to take into account.

For many, outdoor fitness and environmental ethics go hand in hand. If that is important to you, some companies are producing their rollers from recycled or sustainable materials.

Some foam rollers and materials are also better suited for yoga and Pilates workouts than strictly rolling. If you plan on using your roller for exercise routines, this is a good thing to keep in mind.

Half-round foam rollers are an alternative for those who may have difficulty balancing their body weight on a cylindrical or ball-shaped roller. Half-round foam rollers, like the ProsourceFit High-Density Foam Rollers, are also available in a range of lengths and diameters to help keep you stabilized while exercising or stretching.

Vibrating foam rollers are rising in popularity, and that’s because of their unique dual advantage. In addition to offering the same benefits we enjoy from conventional rollers, they also offer a localized vibrational therapy that has shown statistical significance for the body, including enhanced blood flow, less muscle soreness, and improved stability, among others. Vibration foam rollers can be an excellent investment, but keep in mind that they are heavier, require a charge, have fewer length options, and are much more expensive.

Finally, there are virtually limitless colors and patterns available. Naturally, this is a fun — albeit functionally inconsequential — feature to consider when purchasing your first foam roller.

Cost

Foam rollers can cost anywhere from around $10 to over $150. This means there’s a foam roller out there for virtually any budget. 

Our budget-friendly options are foam rollers under $25. These rollers are typically made from PE, EPP, or other materials like cork and are generally simple in design. On our list of budget-friendly rollers are the Amazon Basics High-Density Round, ProsourceFit High-Density Foam Rollers, and Rawlogy Cork Massage Ball.

Mid-range foam rollers are typically made with EVA, are more durable, and have more features including ridges, bumps, nubs, and contours. These tend to cost anywhere between $50-75 and include the TriggerPoint Rush Roller, OPTP Pro-Roller Soft, and the RumbleRoller Original Textured Foam Roller.

Lastly, those who don’t mind shelling out a few more bucks can opt for a more high-end foam roller costing over $75. On many of these rollers, you’ll find additional features like higher quality materials and designs, Bluetooth, and vibrating technology such as that found on the Chirp Wheel Pro and Therabody Wave Roller.

The vibrating Therabody Wave Roller comes with a charger and carrying case; (photo/Rebecca Ross)

FAQ

Back issues are not to be taken lightly. Small bothers can quickly become chronic problems with little warning. If you have considerable and consistent back pain and soreness, we recommend seeing a professional to address the issue.

That said, foam rollers can be an incredible addition to your self-care tool kit. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and foam rollers can do wonders in preventing back issues from developing or worsening.

When built into your daily workout or stretching routine, foam rolling can genuinely help relieve tension, tightness, and soreness in your back.

There is a lot to consider when purchasing a foam roller, and the best foam roller for you may not be the best for your friend. Rollers vary most notably in terms of firmness, length, and texture.

You can generally mix and match the best of each category to find the ideal roller for your specific needs.

Sciatica causes pain that can branch down from your lower back through your hips, buttocks, and legs — radiating along the sciatic nerve. While foam rollers are not a cure for sciatica, they can help manage the pain associated with this condition.

Rolling can be a quick and easy way to promote myofascial release. Depending on your level of sciatic pain and your comfort with a roller, it can be a highly effective pain management technique. Given how affordable foam rollers are, most experts recommend that their sciatica patients keep one on hand.

If you have never used a roller before and are apprehensive about the technique or pressure associated with using one, there are plenty of introductory options available. Less-firm rollers are most forgiving on your muscles, and smooth rollers distribute pressure more evenly.

Both of these factors are welcome features for beginners as they ease their way into the world of targeted self-care.

Not only can you foam roll every day, but some experts would also argue that it is an integral part of injury prevention and workout recovery. Some people treat foam rolling just like stretching. They strive to do it before and after every workout to relax tight muscles and to improve flexibility and range of motion.

A caveat, however, is if you start to feel or instigate pain while rolling. Over-rolling muscle groups can cause further pain and bruising, and potentially do more harm than good. Listening to what your body needs is critical when foam rolling.

Foam rolling can feel good — like, really good. However, you can overdo it. For the best results, try targeting an area for 30 to 90 seconds at a time, resting and stretching for 30 seconds, and then repeating up to two more times.

You should avoid spending any more than 5 minutes on specific muscle groups. And it is better to underwork a muscle group than to overwork it. Overworking an area can cause bruising or even worsen injuries. Remember, foam rollers are meant for prevention and healing. The last thing you want to do is misuse or overuse yours to the point of making muscle pain or tension worse.

Yes. When used properly, foam rollers may help soothe and treat IT band tightness. Many athletes have successfully addressed IT band tightness with regular foam rolling.

From a side plank position, place your bottom thigh on the roller. Using your forearm to support your torso, move your arm so the roller rolls from the side of your hip to the side of your knee and back again. Some discomfort is normal, but stop and rest if you feel excessive pain.

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