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AmazonBasics High-Density Round Foam Roller 36″
The best foam roller to use at home
The AmazonBasics roller provides the firm density experts recommend—with a slight surface texture to prevent slipping—at a very affordable price.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $20.
For self-myofascial release (SMR, aka massaging your own muscles) as well as for use in certain exercises, the AmazonBasics High-Density Round Foam Roller 36″ does the job for around $20 (at this writing). The cylinder has a slightly rough surface texture that keeps it from slipping against clothes or the floor, and the 36-inch size allows for techniques that smaller rollers don’t, like stretches that involve lying along its length. The only caveat is that sensitive people might find the very firm density—like that of any black roller—to be too intense.
OPTP Black Axis Firm Foam Roller
OPTP has a well-earned good name in pro circles, and our experts were similarly impressed with the Black Axis roller for easing out muscle knots and tightness.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $28.
A great roller that’s not our top pick because it costs a bit more than our top pick, the OPTP Black Axis Firm Foam Roller is a firm-density EPP (expanded polypropylene) black foam roller, considered to be the gold standard for alleviating muscle tension and knots. It delivers as expected, with the company’s 30-plus-year reputation for quality under its belt.
Gaiam Restore Total Body Foam Roller
A softer touch
For rolling newbies (or those with a low pain threshold), Gaiam Restore’s medium-density roller has a bit more give than a firm black roller, but still maintains its shape under pressure.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $30.
When you’re new to rolling, it can hurt. The Gaiam Restore Total Body Foam Roller, made of polyethylene foam, is less dense and therefore less intense on muscles than the EPP material of firm rollers. But it isn’t so soft that it immediately warps under weight, and its full 36-inch length makes it useful for all sorts of rolling and exercise purposes. However, simply due to the nature of the material—not to mention the fact that muscles will adapt and may need a firmer pressure—it’s unlikely to last as long as a standard black roller.
18″ Tiger Tail (The Classic)
Portable firm foam
For portable SMR, Tiger Tail is a rolling massage stick with a plastic core encased in finely textured dense foam. It’s lightweight yet can really dig into tight spots.
The rolling-pin-like 18″ Tiger Tail (The Classic) is made of foam-covered plastic with comfy rubberized handles. Given its petite size, it’s great for travel and also for digging into smaller spots on the body, particularly the neck and calves. On the flip side, it’s not nearly as good at SMR for the larger muscle groups—you simply can’t get the same level of pressure or expansiveness as you can by lying on top of a large foam roller—so it’s best used as a supplemental product.
Source: The NY Times
Keyword: The Best Foam Rollers