Last updated: August 9, 2021

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Massage rollers are great for loosening up your muscles after an intense workout and preventing sore muscles. Also for people who suffer from tension and pain points, these can be easily treated with a massage roller. With our massage roller test 2021 we want to help you choose the best massage roller for you. We have looked at the most important purchase and evaluation criteria. We have also compared different massage rollers with each other. This covers all the important information you need before buying.




Summary

  • A massage roller is an exercise tool that can be used to treat and relieve pain and tension in the muscles.
  • There are different types of massage rollers with specific functions. Duo balls are particularly suitable for the spine, while classic massage rollers are used to "roll out" the leg muscles.
  • Smooth massage rollers are especially suitable for beginners, as they treat the tissue more gently than massage rollers with textured surfaces.

The Best massage roller: Our Picks

There are now many different massage rollers on the market. Therefore, it can be difficult to choose the right product. For this reason, we would like to introduce you to some product favourites so that you can get an idea.

Massage rollers: Buying and evaluation criteria

To make your purchase decision easier, you will find some criteria in this section. These should make it easier for you to find the right massage roller. Criteria that can help you compare the different massage rollers are:

We will go into more detail about the individual criteria and what is important in the next sections.

Area of application

Massage rollers or fascia rollers are basically suitable for use on the entire body. Wherever muscles are present, they can be treated with a massage roller.

While a classic massage roller is suitable for (almost) the entire body, you need a special roller for the face, for example.

You can use classic massage rollers especially for the back, thighs, calves and neck. In order to roll out the muscles in these areas, you simply place the massage roller on the floor and start to glide over the roller with the affected body part. To be able to work the muscles directly next to the spine better, there is also a special variant for this, namely the duoball. We will discuss this again later. There are also special massage rollers for dogs and horses. You can use these to loosen or massage the muscles of your animal friend. Massage rollers for animals are almost exclusively made of wood.

Design

When it comes to design, there are different variations. Basically, massage rollers are available with a smooth or structured surface. With textured rollers, you can also distinguish between grooved and studded.

When choosing the design, the training level and personal experience are the most important factors to consider.

The classic massage roller has a smooth surface. It is especially suitable for beginners because the tissue is treated more gently and carefully than with a textured version. Textured massage rollers have grooves or nubs on the surface. These serve to penetrate deeper into the tissue and thus the fasciae. With the nubs or ridges, it is possible to selectively work on particularly painful areas. These rollers are especially recommended for professionals. It should also be mentioned that there are massage rollers with handles. These make the application easier because you do not move your body over the roller. Due to the handles, these models can be operated with the hands and thus the pressure can be regulated more easily.

Material

Massage rollers can be made of different materials. Some manufacturers offer massage rollers made of wood. These are, as already mentioned, mainly intended for animals. Wooden massage rollers are mainly produced and offered for horses and dogs.

Most massage rollers - for humans - are made of plastic or foam.

Rollers for people are made of plastic or foam. A distinction is made between hard and soft rollers. By using foam or plastic in production, they can easily be made harder or softer. Therefore, these materials are used particularly often. Massage rollers can also be made of metal, wood, polystyrene or cork. Massage rollers made of metal or wood are rather rare and very hard and should not be used by beginners. Styrofoam and cork rollers, however, can be soft enough to be suitable for beginners.

Dimensions

The dimensions of the massage roller are another purchase criterion. This is mainly about length, width and diameter. The standard dimensions of a classic massage roller are 30cm x 15cm. In the meantime, there are also mini massage rollers and especially long massage rollers. Here, of course, the dimensions differ.

A low weight is also advantageous for transport.

When it comes to the weight of the massage roller, it should be mentioned that this depends mainly on the material. The classic foam or plastic massage rollers weigh approximately 150 to 800 grams and are therefore not particularly heavy. The low weight also makes it easy to transport - for example, to the gym. Long massage rollers are particularly suitable for treating large muscle areas such as the back muscles. Duo balls are particularly helpful for treating the spine. These consist of two balls. They are connected to each other and leave enough space in the middle for the spine.

Hardness level

As already mentioned, massage rollers are made of plastic or foam. Due to the material composition, the rollers can be divided into three different degrees of hardness, namely soft, medium and hard.

Fascia rollers are particularly suitable for beginners and sensitive people.

Which degree of hardness is suitable for you depends mainly on your sensitivity to pain and your training experience. Rollers with a medium or med hardness level are suitable for beginners as well as advanced users. People who already have experience with massage rollers can use a medium or hard roller. If you have little body fat, it is advisable to use a roller with a medium hardness level, as a hard roller can be uncomfortable. While medium rollers are suitable for all people, hard rollers should only be used by athletic people with experience.

Colour

As you may have already seen, massage rollers come in a variety of colours. You only need to search for massage rollers on Google and you will already notice that there is a wide range of colours. Some manufacturers offer their products in different colours. In this case, you can simply choose the colour.

Most massage rollers are black. However, there are also manufacturers who offer products in red, green, blue, orange, yellow, pink, purple or grey.

You should note, however, that many manufacturers use the colours to indicate the hardness of the roller. This means that a certain colour is assigned to each degree of hardness. In this case, you should pay less attention to the colour and more to the fact that you choose the roller with the right degree of hardness.

Set

Massage rollers can be bought individually or in a set. While sets are easy to find online, they are only sold individually in shops. You should keep this in mind when considering where to buy your massage roller. There are different types of sets. Some include a massage roller with instructions on how to use it or an exercise DVD. These sets are especially suitable for beginners, as you can start training with the roller immediately. Because a DVD with various exercises is included, you don't have to search for them online. Other sets contain several different massage rollers. These can differ in hardness, construction or size. These sets are particularly suitable for customers who want to work the entire body with massage rollers.

Massage rollers: Frequently asked questions and answers

Now that you know what to look for when buying a massage roller and which are the best models, we would like to answer a few frequently asked questions. At the end of this guide, you will know all the important information about massage rollers.

What is a massage roller?

Maybe you have already read up on massage rollers. However, if this is not the case, here is the definition once again: A massage roller is a training device. The roller can be used for muscle training as well as for massaging the muscles to loosen stuck fasciae.

There are different types of massage rollers. Nubs or grooves can help penetrate deeper tissues. (Image source: microgen / 123rf)

Fasciae are a part of the connective tissue. They surround the muscles. When they stick together, this often leads to muscle tension and back pain. By using a massage roller, these can be "rolled out" Rolling out the muscles with the help of a massage roller can thus relieve or alleviate pain and tension. However, the massage roller must be used regularly. You can also use a massage roller as a warm-up before training.

Who is a massage roller suitable for?

In principle, the massage roller is suitable for everyone. Both beginners and advanced users can use the device to relax the muscles. In addition, the roller can help you with some special complaints - as already mentioned above.

A massage roller can be particularly helpful if you suffer from back pain. Through intensive training with the roller you can alleviate this.

Some people have even been able to "roll away" the pain completely through intensive training You can also use massage rollers to strengthen the connective tissue. Massage rollers have also been shown to be helpful for people with lipoedema. Beginners and people who are sensitive to pain should make sure to use a medium-hard roller. You can tell the degree of hardness by the colour of the roller. Hard rollers are more suitable for experienced people. However, before you start training, you should consult a doctor or physiotherapist with your complaints to get tips for training with the device. This will help you achieve the best results.

What types of massage rollers are there?

As you may have already noticed, there are different types of massage rollers. You can choose the type of massage roller depending on the type of ailment you have and your training experience. This will ensure that you find the right model for you.
Type Advantages Disadvantages
Nubbed massage roller Nubs promote blood circulation and can penetrate deeper into the tissue. The massage effect is higher than with a smooth roller Not suitable for sensitive people or beginners.
Smooth massage roller Is especially suitable for sensitive people and beginners You may slip off more easily.
Massage roller with handle Easy to use with your hand You cannot use it on your back by yourself, you need another person.
Duoball Is particularly suitable for precise application. The special shape makes it easier to work the muscles directly around the spine. Does not put pressure on the spine You may slip off more easily because the ball is very small.
Vibrating massage roller Vibrations reach deep into the tissue. Especially suitable for people with back problems. Can also be used while sitting without much effort The roller must always be recharged. Due to the vibration, it is not possible to work manually on certain areas.

You can decide which type of massage roller is right for you based on the advantages and disadvantages. You should also think about what you want to use it for.

How does a massage roller work?

The principle of the massage roller is quite simple. It can help you relax your muscles. You can use a massage roller for all parts of your body. It is especially good for legs, back, neck and arms. Massage rollers are also easy to use. You can learn the basic exercises quickly. Many models also come with instructions or exercise DVDs. However, you can also watch videos online to find new exercises that will help you reach your training goal. YouTube can be particularly helpful for learning new exercises. It is not complicated to use. All you need for the workout is a roller and enough space. You place the roller on the floor for the training. You then lie on the roller for the individual exercises.

With a massage roller you can roll out the muscles after training. That's why every athlete should have one. (Image source: Pexels / pixabay)

The exercises then relate to individual body parts or areas. To do them, place the roller on the floor. Then place the part of the body you want to work on on the roller. Important: Only the part of the body that you want to train/massage should lie on the roller. For example, if you want to massage the calf, do the following:

  • Step 1: Place the roller on the floor and place your calf on the roller.
  • Step 2: Then support yourself with your hands on the floor and lift your buttocks and upper body off the floor.
  • Step 3: Now move back and forth. Your calf moves over the roller.

This principle works for all parts of the body. However, you should lean the roller against a wall instead of placing it on the floor if you want to work on your neck.

How much does a massage roller cost?

The price of a massage roller depends on several factors, such as material, size and whether it is a set or a single roller. Therefore, it is difficult to give an exact price. In the following table, we would like to give you an overview of the prices of individual suppliers so that you can get a better idea of the purchase costs. In general, you can buy a massage roller for about 10 euros. However, the most expensive massage rollers cost about 300 euros. The price range is therefore very high. To give you an idea of how much the individual models cost, we have summarised the most important information in a table.
Type price range
Nubbed massage roller approx. 11-60 euros
Smooth massage roller approx. 16-60 euros
Long massage roller approx. 20-80 euros
Mini massage roller approx. 5-12 euros
Duoball approx. 7-40 euros
Vibrating massage roller approx. 40-300 euros
Massage roller set approx. 17-100 euros

The prices of the individual devices depend mainly on the material, the manufacturer and the size. Therefore, the prices can vary greatly. You should also bear in mind that the price of the sets also varies greatly depending on the products that are included in the individual sets. However, the average set price is around 40 to 60 euros. Massage rollers in the higher price segment are often rollers for professionals. For beginners, rollers with a price of 20 to 40 euros are often sufficient.

What are the alternatives to a massage roller?

As already mentioned above, there are different types of massage rollers. If you haven't found the right product for you in the list, here are some alternatives.
Alternative Description
Massage ball Is small, handy and can be easily transported. This is a massage roller in the shape of a ball. A ball is especially interesting for pinpoint massage.
Platic tube Can be cut to size and used as a massage roller. It is important to find the right material.
Duoball A duoball is something in between a massage roller and a massage ball. It consists of two balls that are connected to each other, leaving space for the spine.

The alternatives mentioned in the table are the most common. However, it is also possible to make your own massage roller from other materials. There are no limits to your imagination. Especially if you are very creative and like to do handicrafts, this could be a cool project and a fun pastime.

Massage balls can be used as an alternative to a classic massage roller. (Image source: ulleo/pixabay)

Ultimately, your personal needs and requirements are decisive for the choice. Only you can know whether one of the alternatives is more suitable for you than the massage roller.

How often should I use the massage roller?

In principle, you can use the massage roller as often as you like. However, there should be an appropriate time interval between each use. This is important because you should give your body some time to regenerate. The regeneration time depends mainly on your body. There is no general rule for this. The optimal interval also depends on how intensively you used the massage roller the last time. One recommendation would be to use the roller intensively with a lot of pressure 6 days a week. If you do this intensively, you will soon notice a difference and only need to use it twice a week to avoid pain.

Can I use the massage roller during pregnancy?

Many pregnant women often complain about back pain during pregnancy. A massage roller or a massage ball can help to alleviate this. However, a general recommendation cannot be given, as it can vary from person to person. Using massage rollers during pregnancy can have other benefits. For example, they can stimulate blood circulation, prevent stretch marks and cellulite in certain areas. In the first weeks of pregnancy it is possible - and even recommended by doctors - to work with the massage roller. In later weeks, however, you should be careful and leave certain exercises and do others slowly and stop if you feel pain. In short, it is up to your own discretion.

Conclusion

With the help of a massage roller, you can complete your workout even better. By using a massage roller, you can not only relieve pain, but also stimulate your blood circulation. When buying a massage roller, you can choose between classic, studded and vibrating massage rollers. Classic massage rollers are good for beginners as they are easy to use and do not require a high level of pain resistance or experience. For professionals or advanced users, there are also rollers with nubs or grooves for precise treatment of painful areas and tension. Once you have decided on a fascia roller, nothing stands in the way of starting your workout. Image source: Lisovskis / 123rf

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