Many people who work out at home typically have go-to equipment that functions well for a specific form of fitness—like a set of dumbbells or pull-up bar for strength or an exercise bike for aerobic activity. But to truly reach your potential in a home gym, you may wish to add an exercise ball: a rugged elastic sphere filled with air that typically ranges from 35 to 85 centimeters in diameter. Also known as a stability ball, Swiss ball, balance ball, or yoga ball, this affordable piece of gear is highly versatile, allowing you to do cardio, build core strength, improve balance, practice yoga, and take part in physical therapy.
Buying—and using—the best exercise ball means considering such factors as size, material, weight capacity, burst resistance, inflation, and portability. Read on to learn about what to look for and why the following products are among the best exercise balls on the market.
- BEST OVERALL: URBNFit Exercise Ball
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: GalSports Exercise Ball
- BEST FOR BEGINNERS: Live Infinitely Exercise Ball
- BEST ANTI-BURST: Trideer Exercise Ball
- BEST FOR THE OFFICE: Vivora Luno Sitting Ball Chair
- BEST FOR KIDS: Gaiam Kids Balance Ball
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Exercise Ball
Keep these important factors and features in mind as you shop for an exercise ball that will suit your body, fitness goals, and needs in terms of portability, convenience, and ease of use.
If an exercise ball is too small or too big for you, you won’t get a proper workout. A too-small ball will flatten somewhat, and your balance and stabilization won’t be challenged. A too-big ball will make maintaining balance too difficult. Ideally, with the ball fully inflated, you should be able to sit on it with both feet on the floor and your knees even with or just below your pelvis. The pelvis, shoulders, and ears should also be in a vertical line. These measurements will help you pick the right ball for your height:
- Height: 5 feet or below = 45-centimeter diameter ball
- Height: 5 feet 1 inch to 5 feet 8 inches = 55-centimeter diameter ball
- Height: 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet 2 inches = 65-centimeter diameter ball
- Height: 6 feet 3 inches to 6 feet 7 inches = 75-centimeter diameter ball
- Height: 6 feet 8 inches or taller = 85-centimeter diameter ball
Be sure to consider weight as well as height when sizing your stability ball (see below).
The product information included with an exercise ball should include its weight limit. You need to account for two types of weight in an exercise ball: static weight and body weight. Static weight is the total amount of weight the ball can support; it’s measured by putting a ball in a hydraulic press and pressing down until it pops.
The static weight limit will be about 2,000 pounds, but it isn’t a useful number for determining what you can do with your exercise ball. The body-weight limit, also known as a dynamic weight limit, is more relevant for everyday use. It’ll be between 250 and 300 pounds and measures the weight the ball can withstand while you’re using it. If you’re bouncing up and down on it, lifting weights, or doing an aerobic workout, the ball can take up to 250 to 300 pounds before it will reach its limit and start slowly deflating.
Many exercise balls are burst-resistant, so they won’t pop immediately if you exceed the body-weight limit (see below). A larger exercise ball may support more weight, but it might not be an optimal fit for your frame. Keep both weight capacity and sizing requirements in mind when selecting an exercise ball.
When shopping for an exercise ball, you might see several marketed as “burst-resistant” or “anti-burst.” Anti-burst means that the ball will gently deflate, rather than pop, if punctured. A ball could burst from a belt or piece of jewelry or from too much pressure or weight—and if it bursts during use, you could be injured. One option would be to purchase an anti-burst ball or to check for a burst-resistance rating in the product information.
A quality exercise ball will be made of thick, sturdy anti-burst material, the sturdiest and most popular being PVC plastic. PVC is also great for a nonslip grip, but it can give off an unpleasant odor. If you’re concerned about possible health issues, know that some exercise balls are made of BPA- and latex-free PVC. Some exercise balls also use hypoallergenic materials, for those who have sensitive skin or are prone to allergies.
Any type of air pump, like a bicycle tire pump or inflatable mattress pump, will quickly inflate an exercise ball. Some balls come with a hand pump included, which can be convenient for travel, but these pumps tend to take quite a while to inflate the ball.
If you want to take your exercise ball when you travel, look for one that inflates and deflates quickly and comes with a small hand pump. Pull the plug to deflate it, fold it neatly, and pack it where it won’t come in contact with sharp objects. When you reach your destination, use the hand pump to reinflate the ball.
Our Top Picks
Check out these recommendations for the best at-home exercise balls, based on the criteria detailed above. Each has distinct features that put it among the top choices, and you ought to be able to find the one to help you meet your fitness goals.
If you hope to vary your fitness routine with a versatile exercise ball, this URBNFit model is worth a look. It’s one of the most popular stability balls on the market, thanks to its anti-burst, nonslip PVC material. This ball can resist up to 2,000 pounds, making it suitable for all kinds of exercise, including weighted workouts.
This URBNFit is also well suited to people just starting out with an exercise ball since it includes a digital workout guide. Available in several fun colors and five sizes between 45 centimeters and 85 centimeters, it’s easy to inflate and includes a convenient hand pump.
Adding a stability ball to your home gym needn’t be a pricey proposition. This GalSports model is made of rugged, BPA-free PVC material and resists up to 2,000 pounds. It comes with all the accessories you need for use, including a pump, two plugs, a plug-out tool for deflating, and a measuring tape to check your ball is at your desired diameter.
The ball is available in two colors and four sizes ranging from 38 to 75 centimeters in diameter. It’s easy to inflate and deflate as well, making it a prime portable option as well.
Those new to stability ball training may find the Live Infinitely Professional Grade exercise ball a great place to start. It’s a quality ball that offers access to online routines you can follow for guidance. And as you progress in your workouts, you may appreciate the ball’s raised and reinforced anti-slip ridges for more advanced positions.
The PVC material is BPA- and latex-free and contains no heavy metals or phthalates. The anti-burst grade also allows up to a 2-centimeter puncture without bursting. The ball includes a hand pump and other accessories, comes in 10 fun colors, and ranges in size from 55 centimeters to 95 centimeters.
The Trideer Exercise Ball is an anti-burst model that’s one of the highest density exercise balls on the market. It’s 2,000 micrometers thick and resists up to 2,200 pounds. The PVC shell is also nontoxic, BPA-free, and nonslip to stay put wherever you use it.
Despite its thickness, the ball is easy to inflate and comes with a foot pump instead of a hand pump. There are seven colors and five sizes available, ranging from 45 centimeters to 85 centimeters.
Slouching over your computer? Slumping in your seat? The Vivora Luno may help improve your posture while sitting. It transitions easily from exercise ball to office chair via its PVC anti-burst construction and removable cover. While it doesn’t come with a stability ring that some ball chairs feature, the nonslip grip should keep you from sliding around at your desk. The machine-washable cover stands up to spills and crumbs.
The ball includes a hand pump and setup accessories, and it’s a breeze to carry thanks to the handle in the cover. The Vivora Luno comes in only two sizes, 65 centimeters and 75 centimeters, and several neutral, office-friendly colors.
Sized smaller and able to withstand lots of vigorous bouncing, this Gaiam stability ball is designed just for children. It has a 300-pound weight capacity and functions well for both exercise and sitting (a Gaiam plastic chair to set the ball in, sold separately, can provide extra stability). It can help little ones improve balance and posture and is especially suited to fidgety youngsters.
The ball only comes in one size, 45 centimeters, so it’s preferable for kids between the ages of 5 and 8. It may tend to deflate, but reinflation is simple. Note: Before first use, inflate it halfway and let it sit for 24 hours, then inflate fully.
The Advantages of Owning an Exercise Ball
A stability ball can be an excellent addition to mix up your routine in a home gym. It’s relatively affordable compared to other equipment, doesn’t take up much space, and there’s a wide range of exercises you can perform with it, all targeted at different goals.
Many stability ball exercises are meant to activate muscles that stabilize the spine and develop good posture. When these muscles are strengthened, it reduces stress on the lower back.
Exercise balls also go a long way toward improving core strength and balance because the round shape throws off your base of support, forcing you to readjust constantly.
Sitting properly on a stability ball instead of an office chair may also be conducive to better posture if you do so for brief intervals and remind yourself not to slouch.
- An exercise ball is an inexpensive, versatile tool for home fitness.
- Exercises with a stability ball may be able to ease lower-back pain.
- An exercise ball can improve balance, core strength, and posture.
FAQs About Your New Exercise Ball
If you’re intrigued by the idea of getting fit with an exercise ball but still want more information, consider the answers to commonly asked questions about their use and potential benefits.
Q. What is the best size exercise ball to get?
The best size for an exercise ball depends on your height and weight. The taller and heavier your body type, the bigger ball that’s necessary.
Q. Can an exercise ball help you lose weight?
If you use an exercise ball to do aerobic or cardio workouts, you can lose weight. Simply sitting on a stability ball may improve your core, but the weight loss won’t be significant.
Q. Is sitting on an exercise ball good for your back?
Sitting on an exercise ball for long intervals can cause back strain. Short intervals where you sit up straight and use your core are good for your back, though.