Best foam rollers to soothe sore muscles and tension

When you train hard, you need to have a solid recovery routine in place to help your muscles maintain flexibility and heal faster. One of the most cost-effective ways to do that is with a foam roller. While we love massage guns and compression boots, they can be pricey — and difficult to use on hard-to-reach places like your back and shoulders.

The best foam rollers are an easy way to stretch out muscles and eliminate knots before a workout, after a workout or just after a long day at the office. But between different textured surfaces, vibration tech and foam density, it can be tough to know what’s what or what to look for when choosing a foam roller. So we’ve rounded up our favorite options below.

The best foam rollers for 2024

From a premium vibrating foam roller by Therabody to a convenient foam roller that doubles as a water bottle, here are the best foam rollers you can buy in 2024.

Best foam roller overall: Therabody Wave Roller

Powerful vibration and gently contoured foam are combined in the Therabody Wave Roller to deliver one of the most effective self-massaging tools on the market. Bluetooth-enabled, you can control the settings of this top-of-the-line foam roller from your phone just as you can with Therabody’s massage guns and eye massagers. Choose from five vibration frequencies and alternate between them as needed to get a perfectly customized massage.

Designed for full-body recovery, the Therabody Wave Roller is 12 inches long and made from high density foam — you can put your full body weight on this. Use it on your back, shoulders, hips, sides or anywhere else where you need a soothing massage or extra help stretching out tight muscles.

Top features of the Therabody Wave Roller:

  • Choose from five speed settings to adjust the vibration intensity to your needs.
  • Use the Therabody App on your phone to control the speed settings and create customized massage routines.
  • The durable foam roller is built from hypo-allergenic EVA high density foam.
  • The battery lasts about three hours between charges.
  • This premium foam roller is HSA/FSA eligible.

$149 at Amazon

Best foam roller for beginners: Trigger Point Grid foam roller

If you’ve never used a foam roller before, the price tag on the Therabody Wave Roller might make you flinch. We think the added vibration tech and convenient in-app controls make it worth every penny, but if you’re not ready to commit, we get it.

The Trigger Point Grid foam roller is our favorite low-tech design to introduce newbies to the benefits of a foam roller routine. It’s made from durable, high-density EVA foam and features a rigid, hollow-core design that makes it even firmer. That means you can get great pressure for targeting tight muscles or stretching out your back.

The multi-density texture includes a mix of smooth surfaces and ridges (as well as differing foam densities) so you can alternate between applying even, gentle pressure across the whole area or targeting specific pressure points with the firmer ridges. This feature makes it even more beginner-friendly since it gives you a chance to see how different textured surfaces and foam densities affect the massage experience.

Priced at just $28 on Amazon (reduced from $37), it’s an affordable option for those looking to try out foam rolling for the first time.

Top features of the Trigger Point Grid foam roller:

  • The multi-density surface offers a mix of smooth and rigged textures for a variety of massage options.
  • The EVA foam and hollow-core design is durable enough for daily use.
  • At 13 inches long, this is the perfect size for a full-body foam rolling routine.

$28 at Amazon

Best textured foam roller: RumbleRoller

To melt away knots and get targeted tension relief in hard-to-reach places, it’s tough to beat the RumbleRoller. With deep nodules all across the surface, this foam roller can penetrate deep into muscle tissue, similar to the way a professional masseuse would while delivering a deep tissue massage.

With that said, this spikier design makes it a more aggressive foam roller that’s best reserved for targeting knots or chronic muscle tension. It’s less suited for gently stretching out tight muscles, so we recommend having a smoother roller on hand as well.

Described as “foam rolling on steroids” and “wildly effective” by Amazon reviewers, the RumbleRoller can be a little uncomfortable while using –just like a professional deep tissue massage. But the tension relief and ability to reach deep tissue and tendons that get missed by gentler foam rollers is worth it.

“Using this daily paired with stretching has been my dream remedy,” said one Amazon reviewer who’d been struggling with chronic back pain for almost a decade. When used regularly, it may provide long-term pain relief and improve your flexibility and mobility.

Get it at Walmart for $60.

Top features of the RumbleRoller:

  • The thumb-like nodules knead your muscles to release knots and improve circulation.
  • At 22 inches long, this foam roller is great for your back but versatile enough for full-body massage routines.
  • The extra firm EVA foam is durable enough for daily use.
  • The deep tissue massaging is also great for boosting circulation to your muscles before workouts to enhance performance and reduce the risk of injury.

$60 at Walmart

Best foam roller to take to the gym: Mobat Foam Roller Water Bottle

This stainless steel water bottle wrapped in high-density foam takes care of your hydration and your recovery needs in one convenient design. The 40-ounce bottle is large enough to carry plenty of water to stay hydrated during your workout. 

When you’re not drinking, lay it on the floor and use it as a foam roller to soothe sore muscles and promote a better recovery. The carefully crafted trigger point surface texture on the foam helps deliver a targeted deep tissue massage and increased blood flow to your muscles.

The innovative design is a serious space saver for your gym bag. Instead of carrying a separate bulky foam roller and water bottle, toss this 2-in-1 Mobot in your bag and you’re ready to go. And don’t worry about breaking or denting the bottle. The durable 18/8 stainless steel bottle and EVA foam boast a 350-pound weight capacity.

Available in a variety of fun colors, you can get that handy 2-in-1 foam roller water bottle for $60 on Amazon.

Top features of the Mobot Foam Roller and Water Bottle:

  • The 2-in-1 design saves space in your gym bag.
  • The durable EVA foam sleeve can support up to 350 pounds of body weight.
  • Expert-crafted ridges and nubs on the textured surface help target pressure points for a deeper massage.
  • A 40-ounce capacity ensures you’ve got plenty of water to stay hydrated during your workout.

$60 at Amazon

Shop more top-rated foam rollers

How do you use a foam roller?

The best way to use a foam roller depends on the muscles you’re targeting and the pain you’re dealing with. For back pain, it could be as simple as lying on top of the foam roller, making sure that it’s putting pressure on the sore or tight area.

For a post-workout recovery routine, there are a number of moves you can use to target the different muscle groups you worked that day. We found a great (and free) online guide to different foam roller exercises you can try on REI’s Expert Advice page.

What are the benefits of using a foam roller?

Foam rollers are an effective way to give yourself a massage, even in hard to reach areas like your back and shoulders. By simply laying on one or rolling your leg on top of one, you can stretch out and massage tight muscles to enhance recovery and minimize post-workout pain.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to deal with muscle soreness after an intense workout. Studies have found that using a foam roller for at least 20 minutes after you work out can substantially reduce next-day muscle fatigue and soreness. In addition to preventing pain, that reduced soreness and fatigue means you’ll be ready to exercise at your peak level sooner than if you hadn’t used a foam roller. 

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