The Best BOSU Balls of 2023: Test Your Balance and Your Strength

man using a BOSU ball


Balance ball, half ball, half dome: This simple piece of equipment goes by many names. But you'd probably recognize this iconic blue half sphere as the BOSU ball, named by its founder, David Weck in the year 2000. The story goes that he was dealing with chronic lower back pain, fell off the traditional exercise ball, and bam! It dawned on him: Why not cut the ball in half? Since then it has become practically ubiquitous at gyms worldwide, a staple at corporate chains as much as in the home garage den.

But why? It turns out that a lot of athletes, rehabbers, and seniors alike all struggled with recurring injuries often stemming from weak cores, ankles, knees—all the stabilizing muscles. The balance ball essentially takes movements you already do only ups the ante, introducing the lateral instability only a squishy blue half-ball can offer. This slight wobble recruits muscles you probably never heard of. (If you're curious, check out 10 full-body BOSU ball exercises we compiled.) As a runner myself, I can attest to the hype. Working on stabilizing my ankles and knees has kept me injury free for quite some time now. The BOSU ball offers exercises tailored to cyclists and triathletes, as well.

But its utility goes far beyond injury prevention, and the hint is in the name. BOSU stands for Both Sides Used and the crazy thing is, you can flip it dome side down for another type of challenge; it's perfect for squats, ankle rotation exercises, and arm-sapping push-ups. Oh, and did we mention ab exercises that will have your core screaming?

That's what makes it an essential tool for the minimalist home gym. What other piece of exercise equipment has such a high impact and variety with a low footprint? So we rounded up the top 10 to choose from. We've got the brand name original, some premium models, as well as some budget picks. And if you don't know where to begin, start at the end where we answer common questions and include a guide so you know what to look for.

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The Best BOSU Balls - Our Top Picks

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BOSU Ballast Ball

BOSU Ballast Ball

SPECS

  • Dimensions: 55"
  • Weight: 6.5 lbs.
  • Weight limit: 300 lbs.

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While it's not a half ball like the other contenders on this list, the BOSU Ballast Ball is their take on a full sphere exercise ball, with a twist: Inside you'll find 2.5 pounds of ballast sand that serves two purposes. First—and most obvious—it keeps the ball from running away, which can be quite the nuisance mid circuit. Second, it adds just a bit of extra weight like a medicine ball, with the added quality of tumbling the more you yank the ball around. While it doesn't sound like a lot, you really start to feel its weight with higher reps.

Other than that, it pretty much functions like a traditional stability (or Swiss) ball. You can do all the same exercises, and it comes in two sizes (65cm and 45cm). You can also fine tune its firmness. It's up to you if its features warrant the higher price. But we think the ballast adds to the ball's utility, making it worth the cost.

What We Like

  • Doesn't roll away
  • Adds a dynamic weight component to workouts
  • The sand creates a fun visual and audible effect

What We Don't Like

  • Some would rather not split the difference between a medicine and stability ball
  • More expensive than a regular stability ball

BUY: BOSU Ballast Ball

BOSU Ball Elite

BOSU Elite

SPECS

  • Dimensions: 26" diameter, 8.5" tall
  • Weight: 19 lbs.
  • Weight limit: 450 lbs.

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"Built to create a stronger foundation," the BOSU Ball Elite utilizes a special high-density interior that pushes back harder the harder you push it. Whereas the original BOSU ball has a squishy instability that's sometimes called for, the Elite has a coil-like resistance you can feel, and it's revered especially in strength training for "priming" the nervous system for heavier lifts or explosive power. Regular sessions with this bad boy will make you a fleet-footed runner and sure-footed lifter.

Another unsung feature of the Elite is its totally flat base, unlocking certain dome down (base up) workouts. While the other models have slightly raised feet at the edges, this one opts for a uniform non-slip surface. Now you can stand on it freely, enabling some pretty intense feats—balanced pistol squats anyone?

What We Like

  • Coil-like, dynamic resistance
  • 2-year warranty
  • Primes the body for sure-footed lifts or sprints
  • Textured power zone and numbered resistance zones
  • Access BOSU's online video library

What We Don't Like

  • Expensive
  • Some may miss the "give" of the original BOSU ball

BUY: BOSU Ball Elite

BOSU Next Gen Pro

BOSU Next Gen Pro

SPECS

  • Dimensions: 25" diameter, 10" tall
  • Weight: 19 lbs.
  • Weight limit: 350 lbs.

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The BOSU Next Gen Pro is essentially the original, only with four textured quadrants (that's the Next Gen part) plus a heftier base and thicker skin (that's the Pro part). This makes it ideal for a household of fitness fanatics, or those looking for something extra durable and stable—its heft means it's less likely to slip.

What We Like

  • 4 textured quadrants
  • Heftier base, thicker skin than non-pro
  • Free tutorial download

What We Don't Like

  • Expensive
  • Some may prefer the original's smooth, uniform texture

BUY: BOSU Next Gen Pro

ProsourceFit Balance Trainer

ProsourceFit Balance Trainer

SPECS

  • Dimensions: 24" diameter, 10" tall
  • Weight: 15 lbs.
  • Weight limit: 330 lbs.

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ProsourceFit offers the BOSU Ball experience minus the BOSU Ball price tag—practically the same weight limit, the same textured skin, and about the same weight as the non-pro BOSU models. It's hard to find a reason to hate on the budget brand. I guess time will tell if your model wears out faster. But even if it did, you'd easily find the funds for another one. If that's your kind of wager, then stick to the original.

What We Like

  • Economical
  • Comes with arm resistance bands
  • Works just as well as the name brand

What We Don't Like

  • Warranty seems limited
  • Some lament the low quality pump
  • No workout tutorials

BUY: ProsourceFit Balance Trainer

BOSU Balance Trainer Pro

BOSU Balance Trainer Pro

SPECS

  • Dimensions: 25" diameter, 10" tall
  • Weight: 15 lbs.
  • Weight limit: 350 lbs.

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The BOSU Balance Trainer Pro is the original, untextured BOSU Ball we all know and the heftier base and thicker skin is what makes it Pro (for about $40 more). The texture is a matter of preference, but some prefer the uniform smoothness of the classic and that's what you get here. It's still the same non-stick plastic-rubber skin.

What We Like

  • Heftier and thicker than the non-pro
  • Untextured non-slip surface like the original
  • Tutorials and wall chart downloads included

What We Don't Like

  • Expensive
  • Some may prefer the textured model

BUY: BOSU Balance Trainer Pro

Yes4All Premium Half Ball

Yes4All premium half ball

SPECS

  • Dimensions: 23" diameter, 7" tall
  • Weight: 15 lbs.
  • Weight limit: 880 lbs.

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Yes4All may be the kind of Amazon bargain brand that includes wacky instructions and lacks their own website, but with an 880 pound weight limit and a hefty base that isn't going anywhere, the Premium Half Ball isn't shoddy and it's one of the most affordable on this list. The black, basketball-like skin oozes tough. But as tough as it is, it's a bit smaller than the BOSU brand half balls.

What We Like

  • High weight/force tolerance
  • Tough dotted texture
  • Very affordable

What We Don't Like

  • Brand lacks a website
  • Cheap hand pump

BUY: Yes4All Premium Half Ball

BOSU Balance Trainer

BOSU Balance Trainer

SPECS

  • Dimensions: 25" diameter, 10" tall
  • Weight: 13 lbs.
  • Weight limit: 300 lbs.

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This is THE original no-frills BOSU Ball and their most affordable model. It's not quite as hefty and thick as the Pro, and that's no problem for the casual home user. It has the classic banded texture on its non-slip skin and comes in oh so many colors. It has everything you need and nothing more.

What We Like

  • Classic banded texture
  • Mid-tier affordable
  • Comes with tutorials

What We Don't Like

  • Not ideal for heftier people or heftier use
  • Some may desire the honeycomb texture

BUY: BOSU Balance Trainer

Nice C Half Ball

Nice C half Ball

SPECS

  • Dimensions: 23" diameter, 8" tall
  • Weight: 9 lbs.
  • Weight limit: N/A

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The Nice C Half Ball is a balance ball on a budget. It offers just the basics, but it does come with attachable resistance bands, which expands your options. Unfortunately, the raised nodes on the base are a bit more invasive than the classic BOSU which means that your dome-down exercise options will be limited. It's smaller than its competitors and it also lacks heft, making explosive movements a no-go. But that could be a good thing if you're only looking to do gentler movements and want something that is light to carry room to room.

What We Like

  • Very affordable
  • Light for carrying room to room
  • Comes with attachable resistance bands

What We Don't Like

  • Smaller than the BOSU brand half balls
  • Light (could slip)
  • Larger raised nodes hinder certain workouts

BUY: Nice C Half Ball

BOSU Sport

BOSU Sport

SPECS

  • Dimensions: 20" diameter, 7" tall
  • Weight: 10 lbs.
  • Weight limit: 250 lbs.

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BOSU Sport is the travel sized companion to the original. So whether you're looking to bring it client to client or take it to the beach, it'll provide a great workout on the go. Its smaller size may require more precise movements or footwork, but its non-slip grip should hold you steady. It is a bit less hefty and comes with a lower weight limit, so it may not work for a heavier-set person doing explosive training. For pretty much everything else, you'll hardly miss the original size. If anything, you may become more nimble and sharpen your mind-body connection as you aim to land right.

What We Like

  • The same BOSU ball in a smaller travel size
  • Functions similarly
  • Requires more precise movements to keep you nimble
  • Light and easy to transport

What We Don't Like

  • Not suitable for the heaviest of loads
  • Its smaller size excludes certain workouts and body types

BUY: BOSU Sport

LifePro Half Exercise Ball

LifePro Half Exercise Ball

SPECS

  • Dimensions: 23" diameter, 4" tall
  • Weight: 14 lbs.
  • Weight limit: 440 lbs.

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LifePro offers an affordable half ball that's nicely sized and weighted about like the original BOSU. Its grippy skin is like a blue basketball and it comes with a Pilates ball, too! Its thick, sturdy base will take a beating and sticks nicely to the ground, enabling explosive movements. Like a good balance ball, you can flip it over and pump balance squats to your heart's content and your leg's dismay.

What We Like

  • Grippy textured skin
  • Comes with a Pilates ball
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Affordable

What We Don't Like

  • Shorter than most balance balls
  • Some may prefer a smoother texture

BUY: Life Pro Half Exercise Ball

How to Use a BOSU Ball

The BOSU ball packs a lot of workout into one piece of equipment—that's why it's so coveted. There are so many different exercises, from variations of the squat, the push-up, the crunch, and more, your imagination is your only limit. Essentially, it takes movements you may already do but cranks up the difficulty, testing a whole lot of muscle groups involved in stabilizing your form. So when you're getting started, keep in mind that it's activating a lot of muscles you likely haven't used before, even if you're doing modified versions of the familiar. Seek out a personal trainer or use care—lower the reps and the difficulty. Even if a movement may seem easy, don't tire yourself out. That's an easy way to get injured.

Here are some exercises you could start off with:

  • Push-up, with the dome up: As simple as it gets, only with less stress on the wrists and more activating. Keep your hands right about where you'd think they'd go, parallel with your shoulders at about mid-height of the ball.
  • Double crunch, with the dome up: Oh, it's not easy at all. But it is safe. And that's why you should test yourself with the double crunch. Sit on the ball, place your hands behind you using your fingers to stabilize, then bring your legs straight out in front of you before bringing them back up for the crunch. This one lives up to its name.
  • Directional balance, with the dome down: This exercise does what every kid thinks a BOSU ball does: It tests your balance. Try to stand still on the flat top. Once you're comfortable with that, and assuming your ankles are in decent shape, test yourself by making slow, round circles without falling. Emphasis on slow. This one's harder than it looks.

What to Look For in a BOSU Ball

What makes a BOSU ball stand out or fit your needs? It's not all that complicated, really. It boils down to construction, durability, size, and some other minor factors.

Consider its construction. Is it made of plastic? Most are, but quality and thickness can differ. The construction quality affects how quickly the ball deflates over time (which can become a nuisance), as well as the next consideration: durability. You need a BOSU ball that can stand about twice your weight, preferably more. That's because not only is your weight compounded by force (think explosive jump squats), the ball needs to stand up to these forces over and over again. Weight ratings matter.

When it comes to size, consider your own size: larger people will likely want larger balls. And if space is tight at home, you may consider a smaller size.

Next are utility features. Most balance balls deflate and come with a pump. The quality of these pumps will affect how easy they are to inflate and fine-tune the resistance. You usually get what you pay for. And some balance balls come with extras such as attachable arm resistance bands.

Finally, does the balance ball come with a warranty? There's always the chance of a defect or something sharp puncturing the membrane.

FAQs About BOSU Balls


Is a BOSU ball worth it?

Yes. The BOSU ball rocks! It's one of those rare pieces of equipment that takes simple bodyweight exercises to the next level. It's fairly lightweight, has a low footprint, and is versatile as heck. Alongside the kettlebell, jump rope, and your kid's monkey bars, consider this a minimalist home gym essential.

How inflated should a BOSU ball be?

Balance balls do not have a rigid PSI (pounds per square inch) to stick to but rather a range that you should find in the instruction manual. Usually, this sits between 0.6 and 0.9 PSI. And this is a matter of feel or the type of exercise you're doing.

If you think about it, dome up and dome down have an inverse relationship to squishiness. When your BOSU ball is softer, dome-down stability will be easier to master. When it's harder, it's much harder to balance on the flat top. The opposite is true for dome up: a softer dome is harder to balance on. Tinker with the PSI and consider these factors for your choice of exercise and level of mastery.

Are BOSU balls good for seniors?

You may be surprised but BOSU balls are excellent for seniors and rehabilitation. No, you likely won't be endeavoring explosive jump squats but there are many gentler, lower-risk exercises that give a fantastic workout.

Are BOSU balls good for weight loss?

Yes, along with a healthy diet, BOSU ball workouts can be a great part of a weight-loss journey. That's because they activate more muscle groups at once, giving you more oomph for every rep while developing lean muscle fiber which aids in keeping weight down. If you're up for it, you can add explosive movements in short bursts for a HIIT element, shown to help with weight loss.

About the Author

Marco Frey

Marco is a writer and avid runner. He’s passionate about health, wellness, and the benefits of regular exercise.

See More from Marco

Marco is a writer and avid runner. He’s passionate about health, wellness, and the benefits of regular exercise.

See More from Marco

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