The best exercise ball
If you're feeling motivated to get in shape, introduce an exercise ball into your fitness routine. It's a sound investment, especially when you consider its versatility through countless movements.
Exercise balls are as basic as it gets when it comes to gym equipment. They can be used for balancing, resistance, and cardio exercises. They're well-liked by fitness enthusiasts and have even migrated into offices as seats that promote better posture.
If you're ready to try out an exercise ball, give our buying guide a read to find the best one.
Our favorite is the Live Infinitely Exercise Ball, which is nontoxic and made without BPA, phthalates, or latex.
Considerations when choosing exercise balls
When it comes to exercise balls, you may be surprised to find them in a variety of sizes. They typically measure between 45 and 85 centimeters (17.7 and 33.5 inches) in diameter, though there are some mini balls available that are around 10 inches.
While you can incorporate any size into your routine, if you'd like to maximize your experience, it's best to get one that suits your height. Many manufacturers list the recommended height for each of their exercise ball sizes. A 55-centimeter ball, for example, is suitable for individuals between 5'1" and 5'7".
Exercise balls have two types of weight limits: body weight and static. Body weight limit refers to the amount of weight the ball can handle with a moving user, whereas a static weight limit is how much it can sustain without movement.
The average exercise ball has a body weight limit of 250 to 300 pounds. There are also some that can accommodate as much as 600 pounds. The static weight limit -- which is higher than the body weight limit on the ball -- ranges anywhere from 1,000 to 2,800 pounds.
To hold up to the wear and tear of training, premium exercise balls are designed with anti-burst technology. They feature thicker walls made of PVC or high-grade plastic. Unlike other balls, these are far more durable and less likely to puncture if they come into contact with pebbles or debris from the floor or shoes.
Anti-slip and nonstick texture
Exercise balls strike a balance between anti-slip and nonstick technology. The ball is smooth enough to manipulate on the floor, but it's not too slick to the point of being uncontrollable. Some exercise balls have a fine texture which helps improve your grip on them.
You can purchase an exercise ball on its own or invest in a kit with extra gear. These deluxe packs include resistance bands, stability rings, free weights, and exercise guides. They tend to be a bit more expensive, but they're a good solution if you're looking to build a dynamic home gym on a budget.
Small exercise balls cost around $10 but won't hold up to heavy use. Larger, more durable exercise balls cost closer to $30. If you want a gym-quality exercise ball, especially one that comes with compatible accessories, be prepared to spend as much as $100.
Q. Do exercise balls come already inflated?
A. Only some do. Those that do not come inflated, however, are usually packed with their own manual pumps. Inflation takes a few minutes at most, though you can also use a bicycle tire pump if you have one, which might be a bit quicker.
Q. Should I buy more than one exercise ball?
A. Many people purchase a few ball sizes to maximize the number of exercises and applications. You can choose a full-size ball for most of your exercises and also have a smaller one to use in lower-body exercises. Mini exercise balls have a variety of uses, and you can even use them in conjunction with your larger exercise ball.
Exercise balls we recommend
Best of the best: Live Infinitely's Exercise Ball
Our take: Impressive durability for those who intend to use it daily.
What we like: Super thick walls that support up to 2,600 pounds. Available in several colors and sizes.
What we dislike: Double-check size chart and dimensions before finalizing your decision.
Best bang for your buck: URBNFit's Exercise Ball
Our take: Well-made ball that won't break the bank and even has its own pump.
What we like: Anti-burst coating. Comes with a free PDF exercises book. Textured non-slip surface.
What we dislike: Mixed reviews on stability ring.
Choice 3: Dynapro's Exercise Ball
Our take: Gym-quality ball that can be used as an office chair.
What we like: Comes with its own pump. Available in several colors and sizes. Compatible with other Dynapro products.
What we dislike: Can pop if you're too rough with it.
Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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