The Best Vibrating Foam Roller To Relieve Muscle Pain in 2020
Athletes have used foam rollers for years, as a means of relaxing aching muscles and reducing stress and tension in the body. You can use them before or after exercise, or as a means to relieve back pain and other aches. The vibrating foam roller takes this a step further by replicating some of the actions of a sports massage.
Professional athletes use them, and so too do regular gym-goers, experienced runners, and novice athletes. As well as offering a great warm-up routine, you can use vibrating foam roller techniques as part of a post-workout routine. Below, we have a roundup of the best vibrating foam roller reviews to help you alleviate muscle pain and minimize post-workout aches.
Vibrating Foam Roller Vs Regular Foam Roller
A basic foam roller is a basic foam cylinder. Users roll their calves or back over the foam, giving some of the basic elements of a sports massage. Studies have proven that they aid in muscle recovery and reduce muscle fatigue. You use a vibrating roller in the same way, but they use a small motor inside the cylinder that causes vibrations. This gives a deeper massage and enables you to get deep into tight muscles to relax them.
Vibrating Foam Roller Benefits
- Once you have finished exercising, your muscles need air in order to help them recover. By increasing blood flow and oxygen, you can improve your post-workout recovery time.
- High-frequency vibration improves myofascial release, sending blood and nutrients to the muscles and enabling them to relax and minimizing the chance of injury.
- Lower back pain is common after a workout and vibrating rollers offer a more convenient and less expensive alternative to a professional masseuse.
- Tight muscles cause the stiffness you have probably felt after prolonged exercise. Not only do rollers help you relax the muscles but they can also improve your range of motion, further reducing stiffness levels.
- Virtually anybody can use these simple and portable devices. They are safe for pregnant women as well as for users of any age. You can simply put one in your gym bag or even take it to work and use it to relieve the back pain felt from sitting in the same position at your desk.
Vibrating Roller Features
When compiling the best vibrating foam roller reviews, we looked at the following features:
Cheap vibrating rollers have a single speed or limited speed options. More expensive models offer incremental, variable speed settings. Variable settings enable you to ease yourself into a massage and allow you to turn the settings down for more sensitive areas. Some variable rollers have a dial setting, which allows for precise setting, while others offer a more convenient selection of four or five different levels of vibration.
Roller size matters. They can vary from 12 to 36 inches long. Longer rollers are better for muscles like legs and glutes. You will find that most rollers come in a similar diameter, around 6 inches. Some smaller models are available.
Most vibrating foam rollers have a rechargeable battery. When not in use, you can plug the roller in to recharge the unit. A typical roller session will last for around 10 minutes and most of the rollers in this review provide between two and three hours of use before they need recharging. Charge times are short, which means that you won’t have to wait long before packing yours back to your sports bag.
You should expect some discomfort when using this type of device. However, this discomfort shouldn’t come from the material used in its construction. Firm foam is strong enough to offer a deep massage and should be durable enough to last for years. The most commonly used material is high-density polyethylene because it is environmentally friendly, tough, and its density offers a firm and rewarding vibration. Other materials include EVA, which is not as common but can be considered as good if not better than polyethylene. Basic and inexpensive models might use molded plastic, but these can cause discomfort and may rub against the skin during use.
Vibrating Foam Roller Reviews
With all these factors in mind, below are 7 of the best vibrating foam rollers currently on the market.
The Vulken provides users with a 4-speed variable setting. It measures 17 inches so it is suitable for working the back or legs but still portable enough for you to carry around. In fact, it comes with its own bag so is easily transportable.
The variable speeds include a pulse setting. This allows you to warm the muscles up and is ideal for use before exercising or for working on sensitive muscles. The rechargeable battery doesn’t have the longest battery life, lasting only 2 hours, but that should be more than enough for a couple of weeks’ use.
- Free carry bag offer
- Durable materials
- 4 speed settings, including a pulse mode
- Only has a 2-hour battery life
- The foam may be too hard for some
2 – LifePro 4 Speed
The LifePro 4 speed roller has four speed settings. Designed for use by professional athletes, the LifePro can perform deep compression massage therapy. This is ideal for warm-ups and for recovery but some reviews complain about the raised edges causing discomfort during use.
Like the Vulken above, the LifePro only offers two hours of use from a single charge. It also measures just 11.5 inches in length. This is suitable for working individual muscles, one at a time, but you will find it a struggle when working the back of leg muscles and it doesn’t allow you to work multiple muscle groups at once. Its compact nature does make it convenient for transporting to the gym or the track, though.
- Offers deep compression massage therapy
- Four separate speed settings
- Quite short at 11.5″ long
- The ridges can be painful for some users
- Only a two hour charge from the batteries
3 – FitIndex Roller
The FitIndex vibrating roller is one of the cheapest options on the market. Don’t let the low price tag fool you, though, because for half the price of some of the options on this list, you still receive four speed settings and a full charge will last for four hours, which is more than most other models.
Unfortunately, you do have to make some sacrifices with a product that is this much cheaper. In the FitIndex roller, the sacrifice primarily comes as a result of the choice of high-density foam as the finishing material. High density foam simply doesn’t offer as deep or as powerful a massage, and this means that you might not notice the subtle differences between some of the speed settings.
If you’re on a shoestring budget, this is a solid choice. Otherwise, we suggest you look elsewhere.
- Less than half the price of most other models
- Four hour charge from the batteries
- The foam is poor quality
- Reviewers have complained that there’s no instruction manual
4 – NextRoller
Despite a price tag that matches premium models, the NextRoller is quite basic in its functions. It has three vibration settings and measures 13 inches long, but like the product itself these are average features. There are plenty of models with four settings as well as shorter models that are more portable and longer models that can work a greater number of muscles in one go.
The NextRoller has received a few negative reviews, too, with some complaints of faulty motors and plenty of complaints about the notched exterior being uncomfortable rather than beneficial. The battery will last three hours from a single charge – again, this is about average. For the price tag, we would expect more.
- Three vibration settings
- Small enough to fit in your gym bag
- Very average for a high price tag
- Some complaints over performance and discomfort
5 – HyperIce Vyper 2
The HyperIce vibrating foam roller is the most expensive option on the list. With a 40 watt motor and TSA approval for easy traveling, it is powerful. It is also functional, with three vibration settings, while its smooth, grooved exterior receives mostly positive reviews from buyers.
Honestly, at twice the price of some of the best models, we would expect more from this product. Its battery will only last two hours from a single charge and it doesn’t offer as many speed and vibration settings as a lot of its competitors.
- Dual-zone exterior finish
- TSA approval, if you need it
- Poor battery life
- High price tag for modest features
The Phenom is not as expensive as the HyperIce but is still quite pricey, especially because it only has three vibration settings. It does have molded foam knobs that give a deeper massage, although some novice users will find this uncomfortable at first.
One feature of the Phenom that is sadly missing in a lot of others, and that it does deserve praise for, is the spine ridge. This ridge provides support for the spine and is especially suitable for users that suffer from back pain after exercise. Another negative feature of the Phenom is that it is tricky to get to the charging port because you have to remove the carry handle. It’s only really a minor inconvenience but at this price level, the design should be better.
- Ridge support for the spine
- Foam knobs enable deeper massage
- High price tag
- Limited access to the charging port
7 – Emerge Vibr
The modestly priced Emerge Vibr is a good option for those that want quality without paying over the odds. It has three speed settings, a dual zone surface that combines different groove patterns, and its 13 inch length means that it is easy to transport so can be taken away with you on holiday or for competitions. A single charge will also deliver up to three hours of use, which is reasonable for this type of device and especially decent considering its price tag.
- Decent price tag
- Three variable vibration settings
- Dual zone finish
- Awkward charging port position
- 13 inches long isn’t ideal for all users
The Bottom Line
Vibrating foam rollers are a relatively new introduction to the health and fitness product market but they are already proving popular with novice and experienced athletes. You can use one to aid warm-up and recovery sessions, and if you suffer from back pain or aching muscles, they can help relieve these complaints.
Using resistance bands is another great way to stretch and gently build up strength in your muscles and joints, without the high risk of injury of traditional free weights. Try doing a session of resistance band exercises followed by a vibrating foam roller massage for maximum benefit.