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We’re sure you’ve had fun bouncing on an exercise ball or seen viral videos of people using them as launching pads or giant kickballs. But if that’s the extent of your exercise ball experience, you’ve been missing out on a versatile piece of exercise equipment. When used correctly, they can help reduce lower back pain, improve your core strength, increase your range of motion and even be a great teaching tool for weightlifting beginners.
To make sure you don’t drop the ball, or yourself, it’s important to find a heavy-duty exercise ball, which also goes by fitness ball, medicine ball, yoga ball, Swiss ball or stability ball. No matter the name, the ACTIVE Reviews Team searched for the best-of-the-best and compiled our top picks for your home gym. All of our picks are slip-resistant and come with an anti-burst coating, so you don’t have to worry about any embarrassing falls ending up on social media.
Best Exercise Ball - Our Top Picks
- Best Overall Exercise Ball - Trideer Exercise Ball
- Best Exercise Ball for Sitting - Vivora Luno Sitting Ball Chair
- Best Mini Exercise Ball - ProBody Pilates Mini Exercise Ball
- Best Slam Ball - Fitness First Slam Ball
- Best Exercise Ball on a Budget - PROMIC Exercise Ball
- Best Exercise Ball for Chairs - Gaiam Disc Wobble Cushion Stability Trainer
- Best Challenging Exercise Ball - BOSU Pro Balance Trainer
- Best Exercise Ball Chair - Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair
Best Overall Exercise Ball - Trideer Exercise Ball
Want a stability ball you can do push-ups on then use as an office chair? The Trideer Exercise Ball can do it all. It’s made with heavy-duty materials that can resist up to 2,200 pounds of force and an anti-burst coating that causes it to deflate slowly, rather than just pop, if it’s ever punctured. At checkout, you can pick from five different sizes, from 15 to 33 inches in diameter, to find the best fit for you.
You’ll be able to use the Trideer Exercise Ball in no time by inflating it with the included foot pump and air stoppers. Reviewers stressed to triple-check the size to make sure it can fit in your space and for your needs, as they found some of the sizing to be a bit misleading. The manufacturer also suggests keeping it away from paint or wooden furniture, as it could be harmful to the ball.
- Key Feature: Honeycomb structure for extra burst resistance
- Diameter: 15"-33" (pick your size at checkout)
- Material: Latex-free PVC
BUY: Trideer Exercise Ball, $21.99-$39
Best Exercise Ball for Sitting - Vivora Luno Sitting Ball Chair
A balance ball can make a great alternative to a desk chair, but sometimes balancing on them can seem like a challenge. Not so with the Vivora Luno Sitting Ball Chair, which has a self-standing design, so it won’t roll away. The ball is specially designed to enforce proper posture, just like an ergonomic office chair, and activate leg and abdominal muscles while you’re using it.
The Vivora Luno Sitting Ball Chair comes in 11 different colors, so you can match it to the decor of your office. The standard model fits desk heights up to 29 inches, and the max model fits most desks above that. Vivora says you shouldn’t be afraid of over-inflating the inner ball with the included hand pump when trying to get it taut with the cover.
- Key Feature: Self-standing design for easy sitting
- Diameter: Standard, 24", max, 26"
- Material: Anti-burst PVC inner ball, felt cover
BUY: Vivora Luno Sitting Ball Chair, $49.99-$109.99
Best Mini Exercise Ball - ProBody Pilates Mini Exercise Ball
Mini exercise balls are great for Pilates or yoga, or for more targeted activation on your feet and inner thighs, which is why they’re used by many physical therapists. The ProBody Pilates Mini Exercise Ball was made for exactly these purposes. At just nine inches in diameter, you can use these to roll out any muscle aches or to add an extra challenge while doing push-ups or bodyweight squats. Since it’s small, it only takes a few seconds to inflate with the included air pump.
The ProBody Pilates Mini Exercise Ball might be small, but it's mighty. Whether you’re doing sit-ups or massaging your lower body with it, it’s guaranteed not to slip or burst. If for whatever reason it does lose its shape, there’s a lifetime warranty that includes a full refund.
- Key Feature: Perfect for Pilates, yoga and physical therapy
- Diameter: 9"
- Material: Low-odor PVC
BUY: ProBody Pilates Mini Exercise Ball, $10.95
Best Slam Ball - Fitness First Slam Ball
While it’s not an inflated ball, a slam ball is a type of exercise ball commonly used in CrossFit, weight training and conditioning, not to mention releasing some pent-up feelings. The Fitness First Slam Ball is the perfect choice for all these and more because they don’t bounce back. Each one is filled with sand, so it hits the ground and stays there.
The Fitness First Slam Ball, like any other slam ball, can be used for much more than slamming. It can be used to add resistance to bodyweight exercises, such as lunges or Russian twists, or to work on pressing power. Plus, it's available from six pounds to 50 pounds to give you a challenge no matter your fitness level.
- Key Feature: Doesn’t bounce back
- Diameter: 8" (available from 6-50 lbs.)
- Material: Synthetic rubber
BUY: Fitness First Slam Ball, $22.95-$77.95
Best Exercise Ball on a Budget - PROMIC Exercise Ball
While it’s the best exercise ball on a budget, the PROMIC Exercise Ball has all the features of a pricier stability ball. It's burst resistant and can withstand 1,100 pounds of force, has a matte textured finish and horizontal lines for slip resistance and can be used by anyone from children to advanced yoga practitioners.
One thing reviewers didn’t like about the PROMIC Exercise Ball was the included air pump, which they found to be a bit clumsy, but it got the job done. They found it was easy to clean, though, and kept its shape for a good amount of time before needing to be inflated again. It comes in three different sizes, from 21 inches in diameter to 33 inches.
- Key Feature: Affordable
- Diameter: 21"-33"
- Material: Rubber
BUY: PROMIC Exercise Ball, $14.99-$17.99
Best Exercise Ball for Chairs - Gaiam Disc Wobble Cushion Stability Trainer
The Gaiam Disc Wobble Cushion Stability Trainer gives you all the benefits of sitting on a stability ball without having to actually sit on one. It’s a disc you place on top of your chair that adds some instability to strengthen your core and improve your balance. So unlike other balance ball chairs, this one can travel with you wherever you go.
The Gaiam Disc Wobble Cushion Stability Trainer teaches you how to properly sit with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bending at a 90-degree angle. This ensures your lumbar spine, your lower back, is in proper alignment and won’t cause any pain or discomfort. It can also be a great sensory tool for children with ADHD or autism.
- Key Feature: Portable
- Diameter: 16" (2" height)
- Material: Latex-free PVC
BUY: Gaiam Disc Wobble Cushion Stability Trainer, $21.98
Best Challenging Exercise Ball - BOSU Pro Balance Trainer
BOSU balls are found in just about every commercial gym, so it’s no surprise the BOSU Pro Balance Trainer provides the most challenging exercise ball experience. BOSU stands for "Both Sides Up" because it can be used with either the dome or the flat side on the ground. Either way, it forces you to find your balance on a very uneven surface.
Some people like to use the BOSU Pro Balance Trainer to make lifting weights or using resistance bands a little more challenging, but we recommend waiting until you find your sea legs before trying that. If you use a personal trainer, they can probably show you how to get the most out of your BOSU ball by using it for balance training.
- Key Feature: Great for balance training
- Diameter: 26"
- Material: Inflated Rubber
BUY: BOSU Pro Balance Trainer, $149.79
Best Exercise Ball Chair - Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair
Not quite a desk chair, not quite a balance ball, the Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair takes the best elements of both and puts them into one piece of equipment. The stability ball seat improves your posture and spinal alignment while the ergonomic back provides support throughout the workday. You can still use it for exercises, just as you would a regular balance ball.
The Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair is only meant for people 5 foot to 5 foot 11 inches, so it’s not for everyone. Assembly is easy and only requires one tool, which they provide for you. Gaiam also recommends deflating the balance ball portion by 50 percent after the initial inflation then refilling it with air for the best results.
- Key Feature: Balance ball seat, ergonomic back
- Dimensions: 22" D x 22" W x 31" H for the entire unit; balance ball diameter is 20.4"
- Material: Molded PVC
BUY: Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair, $69.98
What to Look for in an Exercise Ball
Exercise balls seem simple enough, but like any other fitness equipment, there’s a few key things to look out for.
While you won’t be sitting on it all the time, you should think of your balance ball as you would a chair. You want to make sure you have enough room on it to move around but not so much that you feel like you’re going to fall off. If you’re a smaller person, you’ll want one with a smaller diameter and vice versa.
Stability and Anti-Burst
You’ll be moving a lot on your fitness ball, and you want to make sure it won’t slip out from underneath you or go the way of the weasel...pop, that is. Some balance balls have special coatings to prevent this from happening while others have textured surfaces or use different materials to get the job done. Either way, you’ll want to check to see if the one you purchase has both and check reviews to see if anyone’s had any problems.
It’s important to note that just because a ball is labeled burst-resistant or slip-resistant it only applies to their intended uses. They’re not meant to be jumped on or used as a projectile or floating device. These uses, and others, could very well cause the balls to break.
Exercise balls are usually made of some type of rubber, and some are more durable than others. In addition to that, you might like the feel of traditional rubber compared to latex-free PVC, and in some cases, you may choose one over the other due to a skin allergy.
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